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New ECU cyber security scholarships to boost gender equality

Friday, 21 February 2020

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More Australian women will get the opportunity to participate in the growing domestic cyber security sector, with the establishment of the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (Cyber Security CRC) Scholarship at ECU.

The means-tested scholarship will be offered for the first time in Semester 1, 2020 and will be available for one year to fund an award of $10,000 for each of the two female recipients.

ECU will also offer the successful applicants a 20 per cent fee reduction for their first year of study.

Cyber Security CRC Chief Executive Officer Rachael Falk said improving gender equity in the cyber security sector was crucial to its growth.

"Currently, we are finding the proportion of women working and learning within cyber security in Australia is low, and this initiative is aiming to bolster those numbers to get more women involved," she said.

Enormous opportunities for graduates

It is well-documented that the cyber security sector is facing a massive skills shortage. It is expected that over the next decade, Australia will need more than 60,000 skilled professionals to fill the looming employment gap in the cyber security industry.

"Australia’s external spending on cyber security products and services grew to $3.9 billion in 2018, and the global market is projected to be worth almost US$250 billion by 2026, so there’s a need for more Australians to get involved in this thriving sector, particularly women," Ms Falk said.

“This partnership with Edith Cowan University will help unlock more opportunities for female students who otherwise might not have been able to go to university, paving the way for greater representation of women in the sector in future."

ECU is considered one of the world’s leading universities for training and research in cyber security.

Boosting gender equality in cyber security

Edith Cowan University Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman said the scholarships were a first for the university’s successful cyber security program.

"Core to Edith Cowan University’s values is the pursuit of redressing inequalities and improving education and opportunities for women, particularly in regard to STEM," he said.

"We all have an obligation to ensure Australia remains innovative and globally competitive."

"We need to continue to support our best scientists, researchers and innovators both female and male."

"Scholarships can change the life of a student and we applaud the Cyber Security CRC for this initiative."

Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews, a mechanical engineer, welcomed the new partnership as part of a broader push for the research sector to get more women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"This issue is particularly close to my heart and something I’m very passionate about supporting," she said.

"The Government is committed to ensuring that there’s a greater representation of women across STEM, including within the cyber security sector."

"We know that gender-diverse teams are better problem solvers, so I want to see more women on boards and more women in leadership positions, and I’m thrilled that there are more opportunities for women to thrive in this sector."

For more information on the scholarship and eligibility, visit the Scholarships webpages.

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