Team of Kent students take part in annual Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge

The University of Kent was represented at the Atlantic Council’s prestigious 2022 Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge, with an interdisciplinary team of postgraduate and undergraduate students. The all-University of Kent team, Kentium 4, included Asta Kjerrman (MA International Relations), Camille Catania (MSc Computer Science), Johann Airieau (MA International Relations) and Gabriel Doyle-Finch (BSc Computer Science), with Dr Gareth Mott supporting the team as Coach

The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is a student-oriented event in which students assume the role of advisors to senior ministers and civil servants, in the midst of a real-time national cyber crisis. Teams must develop policy recommendations and deliver succinct assessments to judging panels comprised of industry experts, in escalating competitive rounds.

The 2022 running of the Cyber 9/12 competition was its most-competitive and in-demand event to-date, and the team were absolutely delighted to have been accepted into the competition, and to have had the privilege to have successfully entered the semi-final rounds in the second day.

Team Coach Gareth said: ‘It was a delight to support the University of Kent’s participation, for the second year-running, in the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge. This is an utterly brilliant competition, that frankly makes me wish I were a student again! I, and our Institute of Cyber Security for Society colleagues, are extremely proud of the outstanding endeavours undertaken by our Kentium 4 students. Asta, Camille, Johann and Gabriel worked seamlessly as a strong, agile, and competitive team. Their comprehension of the rolling cyber crisis was astute, and their policy recommendations and presentational skills were well-received by judges during the competitive rounds. Each team member demonstrated the keen synergy between technical and socio-political cyber security that is emblematic of the teaching and education culture at the University of Kent, supported by the iCSS. I have no doubt that each team member would excel in a career in cyber security, or a career of their choosing, drawing on the skills that they have deployed and refined during the course of this competition. Well done, Kentium 4!’

Kentium team member Asta said: ‘The competition was a unique learning opportunity for me. It enhanced my skills in working across fields, both in developing understandings in new areas and communicating my knowledge to other students outside my field. During the competition, I was able to apply my skills in working under high pressure and adapting to the changes in circumstances. Lastly, Cyber 9/12 was a great opportunity to get an insight into daily livelihoods in cybersecurity’.

Kentium team member Johann said: ‘The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge was an incredible opportunity for me as a postgraduate student in International Relations. Cybersecurity’s importance is growing due to a lot of cyber threats looming on companies, public administrations, and private citizens. The scenario gave us the opportunity to link theoretical knowledge learned at the university – for instance, deploying knowledge from Dr Mott’s Governance and War in Cyberspace module – and from our own experiences to (almost) real life events. This event challenged our time management skills and made us work very hard to produce a report with credible answers to propose to decision makers of Her Majesty’s Government. Events and deadlines bonded the team and created a real cohesion. I recommend to any student interested in cybersecurity, defence affairs, or policy making to get involved in this competition next year!’

Further information about the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is available here: