Background & capacity: Some of the recent collaborative efforts at DSV/SU include the Swedish Institute funded project E4E& I (2012) with Georgia and Ukraine, and the projects in cybersecurity province such as EU DFET (2014-2016), EU STORK 2.0 (2012-2015), EU e-SENS (2013-2017), NordForsk PDTOR (2017 – 2022), and the EU H2020 project CYRENE (2020-2023).
DSV/SU cybersecurity education comprises a spectrum of courses offered across different programs traversing over undergraduate and graduate studies, cross-fertilized with a considerable research record. The master program in Information security commenced thirty years ago is continuously revised to reflect the latest trends in cybersecurity. The program may be delivered in a campus mode, online mode, or a blend of both.
Challenges & opportunities: In the last decade, the cooperation between DSV/SU and universities from the Baltic region, especially the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries (EaP), involved instances of students and scholars exchange, and two-sided short-term projects with tepid institutional support. No project has been related to innovative cybersecurity education. Inducing a culture of collaboration with the EaP universities, through CyberEDU is a unique opportunity for a multilateral and multinational project concentrated on transforming the educational content and generating novel knowledge domain to benefit both the main applicant and all partners.
Partners in the project
Background and capacity: CyberEDU partners are either established state universities (ASOIU, KhAI) with links to critical infrastructures (in oil, aviation, and space industries) or private universities (UG, BHOS) specializing in high-tech. They all have computer science departments with labs based on advanced technologies. There are strong interest and presence of the international industry players in cyber-physical systems such as ABB, Emerson, and Siemens.
The internationalization is limited to attracting students from underdeveloped countries and occasional participation in projects as junior partners. The institute NCBJ and the GRENA association complement the consortium through their expertise in cybersecurity critical infrastructure threats and membership in the international networks.
Challenges and opportunities: Behind the low-level internationalization at the universities are several factors such as a short history of collaboration with the foreign institutions, the absence of the research dimension in higher education (which is a soviet legacy – used to be solely in the realm of academies of sciences and institutes), limited if any command of English, and the effect of political tensions that have impaired the old relations with the Russian scientific communities. In general, there is little awareness of modalities and the benefits of international collaboration, often represented by marginalized offices. It is also manifested by an occasional lack of vision and related strategies. While computer science programs are ambitious, they are reduced to traditional curricula that do not include cybersecurity.
Nowadays, it is a truism that cybersecurity is central for safeguarding and operating critical infrastructures behind the pillars of the society, among others, defence, economy, industry, public health, and education. Cybersecurity graduates are extraordinarily marketable and in demand in all the sectors of the society.
Cyberattacks on the critical infrastructure ignore borders and frequently originate in state actors. Hence their identification and mitigation entail close international cooperation of relevant services and scientific communities. The truly international nature of CyberEDU is widely welcomed by the participating universities, which recognize the importance of the project as a unique opportunity to create the foundations of contemporary cybersecurity higher education and commit and strive to a sustainable effort.