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Cyber security scholarships on offer in Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast is backing the cyber security sector with funding for master of science scholarships

In an initiative aimed to help secure Northern Ireland’s status as a global cyber security hub, Queen’s University Belfast is offering 40 full scholarships, worth more than £500,000, for its specialist Applied Cyber Security Master of Science (MSc) programme.

The move is in response to the growth of the sector, both in Northern Ireland and globally, and the strong demand from industry for more suitably qualified cyber security professionals.

As well as recent graduates, the scholarships are aimed at those already in employment who are interested in changing career to work in cyber security.

The university said the courses are designed to provide graduates with a comprehensive understanding of cyber security challenges facing industry and society, and the course content is informed by research undertaken at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), the UK’s largest cyber security research centre.

The Applied Cyber Security MSc sits alongside the MSc programmes at Queen’s in Data Analytics and Software Development.

Northern Ireland’s cyber security sector is estimated to provide more than £70m in annual salaries, with some of the best rates of remuneration in the tech industry and the wider economy.

The country already hosts a cluster of leading-edge companies and individuals working across the private, public and third sector in cyber security. As a result, it has attracted a number of direct foreign investors, including California-based security firm Imperva, which announced last December that it was setting up a new base in Belfast, creating 220 jobs.

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Imperva joins other companies operating substantial cyber security bases in Northern Ireland, such as Anomali, Black Duck Software, Rapid7 and Proofpoint. As a result, the region has been recognised as a top international location for US cyber security development projects, according to the Financial Times’ FDi Markets report.

Philip Hanna, professor and director of education at the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s University Belfast, said the applied cyber security scholarships come at an “apt time” for one of the fastest-growing sectors in Northern Ireland and in the world.

“Thirst for cyber security talent is strong and will intensify further in the future, so initiatives of this nature are essential to maintain the sector’s vibrancy,” he said. “Cyber security is exciting, fast-paced and extremely rewarding, and these scholarships will widen its accessibility.”

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