Centre Research Affiliates Monica Kaminska and Jantje Silomon presented a paper on “tackling the cyber-skills gap: a survey of UK initiatives” at the Cyber Storm Conference in Canberra, Australia on February 18, 2019. Their talk focused on three themes: university teaching and research; government strategies; and simulation and war gaming.
The first theme outlined postgraduate initiatives, such as Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSRs), National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Certified Degree Providers and Centres for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security. They discussed the University of Oxford as a case study, in particular the Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security and the Oxford Centre for Technology and Global Affairs, analysing the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach to cyber security, as well as looking at the challenges of integrating such research agendas into traditional university structures.
Next, they examined the UK’s approach to fulfiling its commitment to closing the cyber skills gap as set out in the National Cyber Security Strategy. It included a review of the provisions of skills for cyber emergencies, with a specific focus on the new National Cyber Security Centre. Further initiatives, such as the CyberFirst programme for school pupils and university students and the NCSC Cyber Accelerator, were also addressed.
The final part of the presentation focussed on cyber competitions and wargames, discussing government competitions, student-led initiatives, as well as cyber crisis training exercises. They argued that these competitions provide a valuable means of encouraging individuals to take an interest in cyber security, although it can be very challenging to cater to both technical and non-technical participants in the same competition.