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University of New Brunswick partners with IBM in opening cybersecurity institute

University of New Brunswick partners with IBM in opening cybersecurity institute 

The University of New Brunswick and IBM on Monday opened the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity. The research and training located at the UNB grounds received $2.27 million in funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Innovative Communities Fund and through the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. The provincial government kicked in near $2 million, and the UNB added $330,000 to the pot.

320 UNB and IBM

From left: Stephen Lund (CEO of Opportunities NB), Brian Gallant (New Brunswick Premier), Sandy Bird (IBM Fellow and CTO of IBM Security), Matt DeCourcey (Member of Parliament for Fredericton), Ali Ghorbani (Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity at the University of New Brunswick and Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science at the university), Kate Rogers (deputy mayor, Fredericton) and UNB President Eddy Campbell.

IBM is the institute’s first research and development partner, helping to fund highly skilled 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.

Sandy Bird, IBM fellow and chief technology officer of IBM Security, said the new venture will bring about three key benefits:

  • The enhanced research partnership with UNB will further IBM understanding of new and emerging cybersecurity threats and threat actors
  • UBN researchers will have the opportunity to collaborate and partner with IBM cybersecurity experts and also benefit from industry validation and funding for their research
  • Improved training and exposure for students who will become future cybersecurity professionals

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New Brunswick is the ideal location for a cybersecurity institute because it already is fertile ground for emerging experts in the field, according to Bird.

“Waterloo is spectacular in encryption…it certainly feels like New Brunwick is the cybersecurity capital of Canada,” he said.

Bird said cybersecurity experts such as Dr. Ali Ghorbani of UNB have been and continue to be mentors of some of the industry’s best cybersecurity practitioners.IBM also has a long history of working with New Brunswick students and researchers in the field of cybersecurity.

The company’s new IBM Watson for Cyber Security system which uses artificial intelligence to provide what IBM calls “cognitive security,” is being developed with the help of students and researchers from UNB along with other organizations, Bird added.

He foresees UNB and IBM developing and patenting the “next generation of cybersecurity products.”

Meanwhile, IBM will contribute to the development of the institute curriculum as well as serve as a training ground for its coop students and interns.

The government of New Brunswick aims to transform its economic landscape by building a knowledge-based economy and placing a strategic focus on developing cybersecurity technologies and competence.

The area of cybersecurity holds big promises. The worldwide cybersecurity market is large and growing, with market sizing estimates ranging from US$75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020. The size of the market is a response to the rising global cost of cyberattacks, which is expected to grow to $2.1 trillion by 2020. There is intense interest in the development of new-generation cybersecurity solutions.

Meanwhile, according to the Information and Communications Technology Council, and estimated 1.5 million people will be needed in the cybersecurity field by 2020.

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“The need for more cybersecurity support and services around the world is a huge opportunity to create jobs here in our province,” said New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant. “New Brunswick is already a world leader in cybersecurity. Enhancing training and research opportunities through this institute is another step in seizing this significant economic opportunity.”

 “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,” according to Dr. Eddy Campbell, UNB president, and vice-chancellor.

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, serves as director of the institute.

The university’s partnership with IBM builds on the company’s long-standing history of investments and partnerships across the province.

 In 2011, IBM acquired Q1 Labs, whose QRadar Security Intelligence Platform was developed in partnership with the University of New Brunswick. T

The acquisition served as a catalyst for IBM to form its security division, which is now a $2-billion business employing more than 8,000 researchers, developers and security experts across 133 countries worldwide.

IBM maintains a research and development and customer support centre in Fredericton, which provides support for more than 5,000 customers around the globe.

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