The University of Melbourne and Edith Cowan\nUniversity (ECU) will share $1.91 million of government funding over four years\nto establish \u2018Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence\u2019 (ACCSE).\nThe funding is part of an effort to \u201chelp\nbuild the required expertise and job-ready skills\u201d in information security\nwhich are desperately needed by Australian industry and government, Minister\nfor Education and Training Simon Birmingham and Minister Assisting the Prime\nMinister for Cyber Security Dan Tehan said in a statement today.\nThe ACCSE program is part of the government\u2019s $230millionCyber Security Strategylaunched by Prime\nMinister Malcolm Turnbull in April last year.\nThe funding will be sued to encourage more\nstudents to undertake studies in cyber security; increase the number of highly qualified\npost-graduates with job ready skills and provide support for research that\naddresses key cyber security challenges confronting the nation.\n\u201cOur ambition is to attract more of\nAustralia's best and brightest into this critically important area, regardless\nof their background," Birmingham said today. "Graduates from the successful centres of excellence will\nbe equipped with the best knowledge to meet the needs of the cyber industry,\nbusiness and government."\n\u201cWhat\u2019s more, the centres will encourage the\ncommercialisation of their cyber security research and benefit Australia\u2019s\nsmall and medium sized industries.\u201d\nIt is expected that the ACCSE will be\nself-sustaining with ongoing operations funded through student course fees and\nfee-for-service income, including from Government agencies and the private\nsector.\nThe universities will also use the funding to improve the\nawareness of cyber security issues among the general public. This work includes\nprograms to encourage more school-age children to study STEM subjects related\nto cyber security, short courses for those already in the workforce and\nopportunities for TAFE students to move into a university study.\n\u201cEncouraging a generation of Australian\ncyber security professionals is good for our cyber security, good for the\neconomy and good for the young Australians who pursue careers in this area,\u201d\nTehan added.\nBoom industry\nECU School of Science Executive Dean Professor\nAndrew Woodwardsaid graduates with cyber security skill were in high and constant demand.\n\u201cCyber security skills are in such high demand we see our best\nstudents being offered six figure salaries when they\u2019re only in their second\nyear of a degree. The industry is booming globally right now. It has been for\nthe past decade and will continue to boom into the next decade.\u201d he said.\n\u201cUnlike industries such as mining and construction which can\nboom and bust \u2013 we\u2019re only connecting more devices to the internet and that\nmeans more demand for cyber security professionals. That demand is being fed by\nthe realisation that companies outside the tech industry need trained cyber\nsecurity personnel.\u201d\nSince 2001 more than 1000 cyber security\nprofessionals have graduated from ECU\u2019s cyber security program \u2013 one of the\nlongest running programs of its kind in Australia.\nThe private sector has also been funding\ncyber security centre\u2019s within universities over recent months. At the end of last year Optus Business formed a partnership with\nLa Trobe University to offer a \u201cmarket leading\u201d cyber security degree.\nThe partnership followed the launch of the Optus Macquarie University Cyber Security Hub, the\nresult of a $10m dollar between the telco and the Sydney university.\nOctober last year saw the launch of the SEC.EDU Security Engineering Lab at UNSW which was backed by the Commonwealth Bank.\nThe lack of cyber security professionals is\nfelt more acutely in Australia than in other countries, according to a 2016 survey\nby US think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies.\nThe survey\u2019s respondents predicted that 17 per\ncent of cybersecurity positions advertised by their company would go unfilled by 2020. Nearly 90 per cent of Australian IT decision makers\nbelieve there is a shortage of cyber security skills both in their organisation\nand within the nation.