Kent recognised as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (Gold Award)

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The University has been recognised by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACE-CSE) with a Gold Award. This means that it has met the ACE-CSE standard for Gold Award comprised of eight requirements set by the NCSC and the Department for Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT). Kent is now one out of only 12 ACEs-CSE in the UK to obtain Gold status.

This new award was led by the University-wide and cross-disciplinary Institute of Cyber Security for Society (iCSS), one of 19 Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACEs-CSR) in the UK, jointly recognised by the NCSC and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, part of the UKRI – UK Research and Innovation).

The news was welcomed by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen Cox, who said: ‘My congratulations to all those who, in only a few years, have firmly placed Kent on the map for cyber security education. We are very proud to have been awarded this Gold status which is a reflection of the teaching, training and public engagement skills, research expertise, and dedication of our cyber security staff.’

Dr Virginia Franqueira, Director of Kent’s ACE-CSE and Deputy Director (Education) of iCSS, said: ‘Our journey towards such successful outcome started three years ago when we established an action plan aligned with the ACE-CSE requirements. This recognition feels like a really amazing achievement allowing Kent to become a cyber security education and research hub in the region. It will empower us to continue pursuing our aim to equip a large range of beneficiary groups with the skills and knowledge to become cyber-specialists or cyber-aware professionals, organisations and individuals regardless of age. These groups include Kent students at all levels and subject areas, schools, industry, government bodies, and wider communities.’

Professor Shujun Li, Deputy Director of Kent’s ACE-CSE and Director of iCSS, explained that the activities of the ACE-CSE will draw from the wider socio-technical expertise of members of iCSS who are from the School of Computing and 15 other academic schools. He said: ‘Gaining the ACE-CSE is a new milestone for iCSS and the University as a whole. It reflects our growing interests and efforts in connecting our decade-long activities in cyber security research and education, and also our wider activities in other areas including but not limited to school outreach, business and public engagement, and external collaboration with all sectors. We look forward to making more contributions on education-informed research and research-informed education in cyber security and other closely related topics such as online safety and media literacy.’

Chris Ensor, NCSC’s Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, said: ‘I am delighted we can recognise the University of Kent as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education. The award is testament to the dedication of academics, support staff and senior management who have ensured that cyber security remains high on the University’s agenda. We very much look forward to working with them over the coming years and encourage other universities to work towards achieving similar recognition in the future.’