The Federal Government’s AustCyber Projects program has added four additional organisations receiving a matched total of over $1.6 million towards cyber security initiatives.
This funding burst is part of the second round of the AustCyber Projects fund, a $15 million, three-year program for growing the Australian cyber security industry.
The additional funding will go towards projects run by cyber security vendor Cybermerc, neurodiversity-focused recruitment agency Untapped, South Metropolitan TAFE and the University of Adelaide.
Michelle Price, CEO of AustCyber, said these projects are set to add value to the nation’s cyber security sector, as well as add “potentially world leading innovative solutions for all sectors of the economy more broadly”.
“The growing demand for cyber security products and services is a significant economic opportunity for Australia," she said.
"Supporting cyber resiliency improves our nation’s overall global competitiveness, as well as its security. The news of sustained cyber attacks over recent weeks highlights the importance of digital trust and building a resilient cyber security infrastructure for Australia."
“The Projects Fund is one of our key mechanisms used to identify and support cyber security innovation through to commercialisation in Australia, complementing projects funded through industry, research organisations and other government initiatives.
“It is also great to see Australian companies partnering with domestic and international corporates within the broader ecosystem. AustCyber is excited to be working with recipients and their consortia partners as they deliver on their projects over the next twelve months.”
Cybermerc’s funding, of which it will see a matched $1.2 million from AustCyber, will go towards building “the final piece of a capability we began to imagine four years ago”.
Matthew Nevin, Cybermerc’s CEO, said the funds would be focused on its Aushield Protect, Aushield Detect and Aushield Defend products to protect Australian organisations.
Cybermerc was also part of the first round of funding in June 2019, when it received $550,000.
Untapped’s grant of a matched $110,000 will be used for a virtual, cloud-based cyber security training and assessment centre, providing young autistic adults with cyber security-related employment and upskilling opportunities.
Untapped will work on the project in partnership with DXC Technology’s Dandelion Program, La Trobe University and Curtin University.
Andrew Eddy, Untapped CEO, said the concept of the centre was formed when he identified limited understanding of cyber security career options amongst young autistic adults.
“We have also determined through our experience that cyber is an area where many neurodiverse people excel delivering outstanding results for employers,” he said.
“What the fund has allowed us to do is form a consortium of businesses, universities and service providers to create a platform to help generate interest in cyber security and create pathways for young autistic people to further study and gain employment.”
South Metropolitan TAFE will receive $225,000 in matched funding to expand the framework for the national delivery of CyberTAFE - vocational cyber security education and training. This includes expediting national access to teaching resources for other TAFEs.
According to Julia Burns, executive director for training at South Metropolitan TAFE, the CyberTAFE project will also go towards system maintenance, staff retention and the development of Training Cyber Security Operations Centre (TCSOC) between TAFE colleges.
“The project will also see the TAFECyber brand develop as an international benchmark for the highest level of agile cyber security training to meet industry needs,” Burns said.
Meanwhile, the University of Adelaide will use its matched funding of $106,698 to develop a massive open online course (MOOC) focused on resources and challenges for school teachers to teach about national cyber security education efforts at foundational levels to year 10.
The university will lead the project and Google Australia and national science agency CSIRO will be onboard as partners.
The MOOC, according to Rebecca Vivian, research fellow at the university, will include topics and activities, face-to-face workshops and additional support.
“This grant has provided a strong partnership platform and ability to bring industry and education together, supporting us to develop and deliver high-quality cyber security resources and professional learning for teachers across Australia through a collaborative and strategic effort,” Vivian said.
“The funding has supported the hiring of education and Computer Science specialists to develop content aligned to classroom and teacher needs and to deliver engaging professional learning sessions. The funding allows us to make the MOOCs and professional learning sessions free and open-source - at no cost to teachers across Australia.
This additional funding comes after the initial reveal of the second round of receipts back in February 2020, with the first round in June 2019.
In addition to the AustCyber Projects fund, the organisation has also contributed towards a task force to improve cyber security practices, alongside the NSW Government and Standards Australia, first announced in early June, as well as launching a cyber security node in Launceston back in January.