Craig Valli

Professor Craig Valli

Director, ECU Security Research Institute

My diverse career has evolved from working within the secondary education sector to my current position as Director of the ECU Security Research Institute at ECU.

My area of expertise is cyber security, an area that has rapidly developed in both importance and relevance over the last 20 years as we become increasingly dependent on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to run our economies and many facets of everyday life.

I have worked in the ICT education and research sector my entire life. Initially within the secondary sector teaching ICT for 12 years, and later as part-owner and director of one of Perth's first Internet Service providers (Global Data Access).

Focusing on a new direction in my career I re-entered postgraduate study in 1999 at ECU, completed a Masters of Management Information Systems (Deans List) in 2000 and then started my Doctorate. Shortly thereafter I joined ECU's School of Management Information Systems as Lecturer (Computer Security).

In 2007 I became Head of the School of Computer and Information Science, later the School of Computer and Security Science. That same year I became Professor of Digital Forensics and ECU was recognized by the Australian Computer Society as being a Centre of Expertise in Security.

In 2012 I became Director of the ECU Security Research Institute (SRI). My career in the tertiary sector is a testament to ECU's belief that age is no barrier to learning with many study and support programs tailored for mature age students wishing to return to tertiary studies and build upon experience they have developed outside of academia. ECU also recognises the value that mature age students' varied experience adds to the diversity of our teaching and research culture.

ECU is a relatively young university, still very much in a phase of growth and expansion, providing scope to cultivate new ideas, often with greater freedoms than other more established and traditional universities.

Recognising cyber security as a niche capability that will have growing importance in Australia and globally, ECU has had the leadership and forethought to move forward in developing cyber security as a core capability in the University in the late 1990s. The first full degree programs at undergraduate and postgraduate level in computer and network security were created in 2002, and in 2005 the Master of Digital Forensics was opened for enrolments.

Our research program has since grown from an initial school group with two research active staff members and three PhD students in 2003, to a globally-recognised institute with 25 Doctorates and 13 active research staff.

Recognition of this progress was formalised in 2012 with the formation of ECU Security Research Institute, coinciding with completion of unique purpose-built, high security, cyber security facilities on our Joondalup Campus.

SRI now conducts research across four key themes of Critical Infrastructure Security, Cyber Security, Digital Forensics and Human Security. We have researchers from the School of Computer and Security Science, School of Psychology and the School of Law and Justice reflecting our multi-disciplinary approach to our research.

Building upon ECU's vision of engagement and contribution to the local national and international community, we have ongoing partnerships with major industry, government and academic partners. Some highlights of this being:

  • Winning two EU FP7 grants, as part of the LexConverge network attracting substantial European cash funding;
  • The significant Cisco co-contribution to development of SRI infrastructure for cyber security research; and
  • Our ongoing pro-bono work for the WA Office of Auditor General in testing the cyber security of WA Government information systems.

Our most recent achievement was ECU taking its place as the leading institution responsible for the development of the Australian Cyber Security Research Institute (ACSRI) of which Cisco is also a foundation member.

Strongly aligning with the core values of ECU, ACSRI is a collaborative research platform that brings together academia, industry and government to research cyber security issues for Australia.