UNB opens cybersecurity research hub with IBM partnership, $4.5 million in funding

The University of New Brunswick has opened a hub dedicated to research, training, and industry collaboration in cybersecurity.

The Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity opened thanks to $4.5 million in funding and a research partnership with IBM. The federal government is investing $2.2 million through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Innovative Communities Fund and through the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

The news was announced during a conference today, where the university said that the Institute will train highly-skilled cybersecurity professionals and lead research. Dr. Ali Ghorbani, Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity at the University of New Brunswick and Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science at the university, will serve as the director of the Institute.

“The Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity is a culmination of more than 15 years of successful innovation and research in cybersecurity at the University of New Brunswick,” said University of New Brunswick president and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Eddy Campbell. “The creation of the Institute allows us to forge an even more crucial role in developing security measures necessary to protect modern critical infrastructure in Canada and beyond.”

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant announced a provincial contribution of nearly $2 million, while Campbell said that the university is providing more than $330,000 in funding. The province is strategically focusing on cybersecurity as part of its mission to be a more knowledge-based economy. UNB noted that its Faculty of Computer Science has the largest network security research group in Canada.

“The Government of Canada is committed to developing world-leading clusters in areas where the innovation and expertise already exists,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the ACOA. “Today’s investment allows the University of New Brunswick to take advantage of their existing knowledge base, and establish a Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity (CIC) that will contribute to Canada’s growth in cybersecurity and innovation.”

IBM will help fund resources in the field of cybersecurity and other in-kind contributions, such as technical and management resources to provide project oversight and mentorship for students.

“IBM is proud to be the institute’s first R&D partner and to help New Brunswick build towards a knowledge-based economy. The demand for highly skilled cybersecurity professionals is one of the biggest challenges to overcome in the industry today, and it’s only expected to grow,” said Sandy Bird, IBM Fellow and CTO of IBM Security. “Together, we are taking an active role in solving the existing skills gap in the province’s cybersecurity space, driving awareness to attract new talent and partnering with educators to provide next-generation training tools.”