The UK Government’s Cyber Security Strategy, published in November 2011, calls for providers of education to respond to “Strengthen postgraduate education to expand the pool of experts with in-depth knowledge of cyber”. Furthermore, Queen’s University Belfast has identified Cyber Security as one of six priority research themes. It is in this context that the proposed programme aims to directly address the identified demand for key Cyber Security skills and trained professionals both in the UK and globally.
The programme aims to complement and extend current undergraduate/postgraduate taught degree pathways within the School. Students are offered a taught syllabus and projects which are informed by the world leading research at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) in the areas of data security, network security and sensor analytics and informatics. These are influenced throughout by CSIT’s strong history of industrially focused objectives.
Queen's University's School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EEECS) is among the top universities in the UK for these disciplines for both research and teaching. As a result, the School currently attracts staff and students from over 70 countries worldwide. EEECS has an academic staff of over 70 and comprises around 250 students undertaking PhD and Masters programmes, and over 1500 undergraduates across all degree pathways.
CSIT is now an integral part of the RCUK’s “Global Uncertainties” programme and, with over 70 people involved in its activities, is currently the largest UK academic centre undertaking Cyber Security related research.
Current Cyber Security research includes cryptographic research, authentication protocols; embedded security, side channel attacks and countermeasures; SoC/FPGA/ASIC design of cryptographic algorithms; intrusion detection/analysis techniques; malware analysis; steganalysis; forensics; techniques for assessing risk and trust; security of technologies such as smart grid and cloud; real-time situational awareness; anti-tamper; and electromagnetic security.
In 2012 CSIT was accredited ‘Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research’ status by GCHQ, and is the UK’s largest university research lab in this field. CSIT is fast developing a reputation as a global innovation hub for cyber security and is influenced throughout by its strong history of commercial engagement with world leading companies including Infosys, Cisco, IBM, Thales, BAE Systems, McAfee, Roke, and Altera.
The CDT programme follows the US model in that the first year involves postgraduate taught modules in the specialist area, Cyber Security in this case. It is important to emphasise that the taught modules for the first year are taken from the existing CSIT MSc in Cyber Security.