National cyber experts, industry leaders and MPs back flagship cyber security event

Professor Daniel Prince and Andrew Fitzmaurice
Professor Daniel Prince and Andrew Fitzmaurice

More than 150 industry figures attended a major, flagship event at Lancaster University, shining a spotlight on the critical role of cyber security leadership.

Held on Thursday and Friday July 6th and 7th, the two-day Cyber Security Leadership Symposium 2023 was delivered in partnership between Lancaster University and Templar Executives, The event brought together leading figures from UK national security agencies, including the National Cyber Security Centre, Ministry of Defence, National Crime Agency, and industry leaders from the nuclear, maritime, health and commercial sectors.

Delegates at the event, which was held under the Chatham House rule, heard that cyber security knowledge among senior leadership teams has never been more important, and how cyber leadership roles make or break cyber security initiatives in organisations. Senior UK security figures also shared insights into the qualities that are essential for those seeking to become cyber leaders.

Daniel Prince, Professor of Cyber Security at Lancaster University, said: “It is vital to bring together our community of cyber security leaders to discuss their leadership practice, rather than just the latest technology. Cyber security is about people and culture, not just technology, and this event creates a safe space for individuals to learn and share this critical skills set. Without developing the area of cyber leadership, all the technology in the world will not be able to ensure organisations are resilient in the face of cyber threats.

“This unique Symposium brought together leaders from across the UK to hear from some of the UK’s top experts about what qualities make good cyber leaders and the critical role leaders have in driving cyber secure organisational cultures.

“It was fantastic to be able to welcome these experts and leaders from across a multiple of industries and public sector organisations, to share ideas and insights here. The North West as a region is accelerating in growth as a leading, diverse hub for cyber security in the UK.”

Cyber leadership is of increasing importance in a rapidly developing digital economy. Government reports show there is a significant shortage of cyber security knowledge at the highest levels of UK organisations.

According to the Government’s Cyber Security Skills in the UK Labour Market 2022 report, more than half of UK businesses have a cyber security skills gap. The report also highlighted the severe lack of training and development for cyber security leaders and managers and the impact this is having on the protection of organisations.

The Symposium saw a range of high-profile speakers including: Paul Chichester MBE, Director of Operations at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC); Claire Fry, Director of Functional Integration for the Ministry of Defence’s Digital Function; Dr Claudia Natanson MBE, and Simon Hepburn, UK Cyber Security Council; Dr Mary Haigh, Global CISO for BAE Systems, and James Babbage, Director General of the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) and threat leadership, National Crime Agency.

Speakers discussed global trends, methods of thinking, the need for improved communication between cyber technologists and other senior decision-makers, and barriers to innovation. There were also panel discussions on maritime security, cyber leadership for the health sector, creating a global cyber leadership network, and opportunities for cross-sector cyber leadership.

The event was organised in partnership with Templar Executives, a leading cyber security company.

Templar Executives’ CEO Andrew Fitzmaurice said: “Templar Executives has been at the forefront of developing Cyber leadership for more than a decade and with our strategic partner Lancaster University, this Symposium is the only event dedicated to Cyber leadership at the C-suite level. It provides a stimulating opportunity to discuss and share the nuanced differences in Cyber leadership across different Critical National Infrastructure sectors in an uncontested environment. I was also delighted that we were joined by a number of senior representatives from international countries who were able to discuss the importance of Cyber leadership in their respective jurisdictions, making this a truly exceptional event. The Symposium was also a great example of how collaboration between industry, academia and government can be a real game changer in the evolving world of Cyber and business.”

Templar Executives is a globally recognised, award-winning cyber security consultancy offering a world-class portfolio of services and solutions. Serving as a trusted advisor to governments, multi-national organisations and SMEs, the firm has an outstanding track record in helping clients develop resilient and business enabling cyber security capabilities and embedding best practices for competitive advantage.

Today they are continuing to help build cyber capacity and capability with clients across a range of industry sectors including critical national infrastructure, healthcare, defence, civil nuclear, oil and energy, maritime, education, transport and financial services. From the Board to the front-line, Templar Executives work closely with leadership teams demystifying the cyber threat landscape and supporting the entire organisation’s journey towards sustainable cyber resilience.

The Symposium is just one strand of activity led by Lancaster University and Templar Executives aiming to boost UK cyber leadership skills. It follows the launch of the trailblazing Cyber Executive Masters in Business Administration (CEMBA) by Lancaster University. A part-time postgraduate MBA degree offering a blend of practical expertise and academic excellence, the CEMBA qualification, is a ground-breaking proposition in the UK. Created to help address a critical gap in cyber knowledge among business executives, it is the first of its kind to receive backing from the NCSC, part of GCHQ.

Lancaster University’s strong track-record across teaching, research and engagement places it among world-leaders in cyber security. It is one of only a handful of universities recognised as an ‘Academic Centre of Excellence’ for its cyber security education, research and training by the NCSC.

The University also recently announced a £19m investment into Security and Protection Science – an initiative that will also see Lancaster recruit 33 new cross-disciplinary academics, plus 15 professor in practice roles as well as 10 support staff.

More information on Security and Protection Science at Lancaster University is available by visiting

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