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National cybersecurity consortium co-founded by UNB awarded nearly $80 million in federal funding

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Feb 17, 2022

Category: UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John

The Government of Canada announced that the National Cybersecurity Consortium (NCC) will lead Canada’s new Cyber Security Innovation Network (CSIN). The consortium, which counts the University of New Brunswick as a founding member, will receive up to $80 million in matching funds over four years to advance Canada’s cybersecurity infrastructure, knowledge and workforce.

With additional cash and in-kind contributions already committed by partners, the total investment into this initiative is likely to be more than $160 million. The portfolio will be used to fund research, innovation and commercialization projects.

UNB has committed up to nearly $8 million cash and $11.4 million in-kind support, should matching funds be secured, for major cybersecurity initiatives. Resources would be used toward new and existing academic programs, research activities, fellowships and graduate student funding, and faculty and staff support.

“As a founding partner of the NCC, we are thrilled to hear today’s announcement,” said Dr. David MaGee, UNB vice-president (research). “UNB’s extensive cybersecurity expertise, including the first-of-its-kind Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity (CIC), a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, multiple industry research chairs and many more researchers in fields from computer science to law, is a point of pride, and we look forward to those experts contributing positively to Canada’s cybersecurity landscape.”

UNB’s significant contribution to the consortium reflects the institution’s leadership in, and commitment to, the cybersecurity ecosystem in New Brunswick and beyond. UNB’s faculty of computer science is home to the largest network security research group in Canada; this focus led to the creation of the Information Security Centre of Excellence in 2007, followed by the CIC in 2017. Most recently, UNB established the McKenna Institute in 2021, poised to be a key player in advancing New Brunswick’s digital transformation and economy.

The NCC was established in 2020, when the cybersecurity research centres at UNB, Concordia University, Ryerson University, University of Calgary and University of Waterloo came together to advance a common vision.

CSIN will be an innovative and highly collaborative national network that will enhance research and development, increase commercialization and support development of a skilled cybersecurity workforce across Canada. CSIN will fund high-impact projects in these domains, to be delivered by collaborations between universities and colleges, private sector firms of all sizes, and public sector and not-for-profit organizations across sectors.

The NCC executive group, which includes UNB professor of computer science Dr. Ali Ghorbani, Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity and director of UNB’s CIC, heralded the CSIN as an opportunity to “meaningfully advance cybersecurity across all sectors and in all regions of Canada.” Access to CSIN funding will help UNB strengthen its position as a national hub of cybersecurity research, innovation and training.

“Through this partnership, UNB’s extensive expertise in cybersecurity will be better enabled to make a more meaningful impact across Canada and in transforming New Brunswick’s digital economy,” said Dr. Paul J. Mazerolle, president and vice-chancellor of UNB. “Like the NCC, our vision for UNB’s future includes a renewed emphasis on the digital realm, including AI, big data and cybersecurity, achieved through research impact, collaborative public and private partnerships and the development of a highly skilled workforce.”

Current NCC plans will see initial projects reviewed and approved in the next four to six months, occurring alongside additional structural developments.

Media contact: Jeremy Elder-Jubelin