10 June 2013 14:19

Lancaster is one of four UK universities selected to take part in an ‘industry first’ sponsorship initiative encouraging students to take up Masters-level cyber security degrees.

The scheme facilitates substantial sponsorship to support student fees and is geared at improving much-needed cyber security skills to help protect commerce and infrastructure in the UK.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has built an alliance with four other leading IT bodies to facilitate the granting of the bursaries for cyber security Masters students. The aim is to equip students with skills they can apply in current jobs or give them the opportunity to develop a career in a cyber-security role.

The scheme is being launched through existing MSc courses at Lancaster University, Plymouth University, De Montfort University and University of Warwick with plans to expand in the future.

Director of Security Lancaster (an EPSRC-GCHQ Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research at Lancaster University) Professor Awais Rashid said: "We welcome this initiative and are pleased to participate. Cyber security is one of the major challenges faced by modern society. However, there is a lack of suitably trained professionals to tackle the complex challenges arising from the technological, social, behavioural and legal aspects that all intertwine in the context of cyber security."

“The sponsorship scheme will further enhance our ability to attract and train the best talent to tackle these challenges faced by organisations and society-at-large."

It is envisaged a total of 45 students across the four universities will benefit in the forthcoming academic year but this will depend on interest from students and sponsors.

Hugh Boyes, the IET’s cyber security expert, said: “Our objectives are to ensure there is a clear career path for cyber security professionals, as well as a flow of high calibre professionals adequate to meet the UK’s strategic needs.

“Cyber security threats affect both major UK employers and their supply chains. In developing this scheme we are encouraging major employers to use it to develop the skills both amongst their own staff and those employed in their supply chain. This will increase the ability of industry and commerce to address these threats.”

A crucial part of the Cyber Security Alliance is the bringing together of students, employers and course providers, which will be enhanced with a series of CPD (continuing professional development) activities. The scheme will also promote the sharing of the latest cyber security research to students, graduates and sponsors.

Each bursary is £12,000, of which £10,000 goes directly to the student and the remaining £2,000 covers the provision of CPD and networking opportunities

The Cyber Security Skills Alliance is led by the IET and includes the BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT, The Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP), e-skills UK and the Information Assurance Advisory Council (IAAC).

For more information, email cybersecurity@theiet.org telephone 01438 767290, visit www.theiet.org or follow the IET on Twitter.