Kent establishes cyber security and conflict institute

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Kent has established the Institute of Advanced Studies in Cyber Security and Conflict (SoCyETAL), a University-wide hub promoting interdisciplinary research and educational activities in cyber security and conflict.

SoCyETAL will further extend cyber security research of the Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security (KirCCS), especially within its Socio-Technical Security and Privacy research theme, into wider areas such as international conflict, cyber influence and behaviour, cybercrime, cyber law, and digital financial technology.

Alongside KirCCS, the new Kent Cyber Security Educational Centre (KeCSEC) has also been established as one of the two pillars of SoCyETAL’s activities. It will coordinate University-wide educational activities around cyber security, such as setting up a pool of cyber-related modules across different schools and new cyber-related interdisciplinary degree programmes. SoCyETAL will also support the University’s IT Services, informed by its research and educational activities, in several initiatives such as staff awareness on cyber security.

SoCyETAL brings together academics from many schools across the University, including the School of Computing, School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA), School of Politics and International Relations, School of Psychology, Kent Law School (KLS), School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR) and Kent Business School (KBS).

Director of SoCyETAL, Professor Shujun Li said: ‘I am very excited to see the official establishment of the Institute and the appointment of its management team. Building on our past successes in cyber security research and the University of Kent’s status as a UK government recognised ACE-CSR (Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research), we will continue to grow activities in cyber security research and education to the next level. I look forward to working with Dr Virginia Franqueira and Dr Harmonie Toros, who are appointed the two Deputy Directors of the Institute, all members of the Institute across different Divisions and Schools, and our external collaborators in different sectors to promote interdisciplinary cyber security research and education at the University of Kent and beyond.

Professor Shane Weller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research & Innovation at the University of Kent, said: ‘The launch of SoCyETAL is very much to be welcomed. This new Institute reflects the University’s commitment to interdisciplinary research and teaching that address key global priorities and challenges. It brings together areas of research excellence across a wide range of disciplines and will help to ensure that Kent can contribute significantly to cyber security research and attract students at all levels both from the UK and abroad.’

Chris Ensor, Deputy Director for Cyber Growth at the National Cyber Security Centre, added: ‘I am delighted to see the University of Kent achieve the establishment of the SoCyETAL Institute. We have a long-standing relationship with the University, recognising its excellence in cyber security research through the ACE-CSR initiative, and its cyber security teaching through the NCSC-certified degrees programme. We look forward to seeing how the Institute helps to develop Kent’s offerings in this space and to our continued relationship with them.’