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University of Kent named cybersecurity education centre of excellence | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


The University of Kent has been recognised by the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACE-CSE), receiving 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 of a handful of ACEs-CSE in the UK to obtain Gold status.

This award was led by the Institute of Cyber Security for Society (iCSS), one of 19 Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACEs-CSR), jointly recognised by the NCSC and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The award is testament to the dedication of academics, support staff, and senior management who have ensured that cybersecurity remains high on the University’s agenda, said Chris Ensor, NCSC deputy director for cyber growth.

The news was announced on the same day as the Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec) revealed the results of the CyberEPQ 2022-23 cohort, reflecting a positive first year for the new cybersecurity qualification with 68% of students securing grades in the A* to B category. CyberEPQ is the UK’s first Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) that gives anyone aged 14 years and older the opportunity to kickstart a cybersecurity career, paving a way to higher education and eventually employment. The UK government has since urged teachers across the UK to sign up and access free resources to help secondary school children build skills and consider a career in cybersecurity.

This could prove significant in helping security leaders manage the much-maligned cybersecurity skills shortage. A recent DSIT report found that half of UK businesses are suffering from a basic cybersecurity skills gap, with a third battling more advanced skills shortages in relation to aspects of security such as forensic breach analysis, storing or transferring personal data, or detecting and removing malware.

University of Kent placed firmly on the map for cybersecurity education

The University of Kent is now placed firmly on the map for cybersecurity education, said Professor Karen Cox, vice-chancellor. “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 cybersecurity staff.”

The ACE-CSE Gold Award will allow the university to continue pursuing its aim of equipping a large range of beneficiary groups with the skills and knowledge to become cybersecurity specialists or cyber-aware professionals, benefitting organisations and individuals, added Dr Virginia Franqueira, director of Kent’s ACE-CSE.

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, said Professor Shujun Li, deputy director of Kent’s ACE-CSE. “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 cybersecurity research and education, and  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 cybersecurity and other closely related topics such as online safety and media literacy.”

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