Govt awards $25m in grants from cybersecurity skills fund

Up to $25.4 million in grants have been awarded under the second round of the Cyber Security Skills Partnership Innovation Fund, just weeks after the federal government was charged with making applicants wait for funding.

The Department of Industry, Science and Resources revealed the 18 organisations to share in the funding late on Friday, including six universities, cybersecurity firm CyberCX and the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network.

The announcement comes almost 12 months after the Industry department stopped accepting applications for the second round of the program, which offered grants ranging between $250,000 and $3 million.

The program, part of the former Coalition government’s 2020 cybersecurity strategy, aims to support projects that improve the quality and diversity of Australia’s cybersecurity professionals by funding collaborative projects between industry and the education sector.

The first round awarded $8 million to eight organisations, including La Trobe ($2.35 million), Grok Academy ($1.80 million), TasTAFE ($1.49million) and RightCrowd Software ($1.07 million) to run education and awareness projects.

The second, larger round offered up $60 million for projects that were expected to start as early as the first quarter of 2022, but no contracts were ever signed with the successful recipients or publicly announced.

Earlier this month, Senate Estimates heard that some applicants had been told in confidence they would receive grants but were still waiting to hear if the commitments would be honoured by the new government.

Industry department officials told the hearing that the program had effectively been paused as part of the government’s review of its predecessors spending commitments. The funding will also now be spread over an extra year.

The funding announced on Friday, which is less than half the full $60 million on offer through the second round, will be shared between 18 organisations. Unlike the first round, the department has not provided a breakdown of the funding.

Only one organisation also received funding under the first round of the program: The Australian Cyber Security Growth Network, for “UniCyber – Nationally Consistent Undergraduate Courseware in Cyber Security”.

Of the universities to receive funding, Curtin University received $468,000 for its Cybersecurity Education and Training Program (CyberSET), according to a statement. The two-year training program is aimed at Western Australian school students.

Other universities to receive funding include Charles Darwin University for a “Cyber Territory Skills Hub”, Macquarie University for a cross-disciplinary “Cyber Security Workforce Training Program”, and Charles Sturt University for a cybersecurity microcredential training program.

Cybersecurity firms CyberCX, Red Prianha and Cybermerc, as well as indigenous ICT services providers Kirra Services and Millyama Services, also received funding for their projects, according to the Industry department.

The full list of organisations to receive funding:

  • Charles Darwin University for a Cyber Territory Skills Hub
  • CyberCX for a Centre of Cyber Training
  • Fifth Domain for CYNAPSE, a project to benchmark and grow Australia’s cyber operations workforce
  • Curtin University for CyberSET
  • Holmes Institute for a project to transform water industry Internet of Things and Operational Technology cybersecurity skills
  • Griffith University for a project to increase the cybersecurity workforce in South East Queensland
  • Charles Sturt University for a cybersecurity microcredential and employment-ready program
  • Kirra Services for an indigenous ICT cyber employment pathway
  • CBIT for Australia’s first cyber and digital forensics tactical training facility
  • Australian Cyber Security Growth Network for UniCyber
  • Untapped Holdings for an inclusive cyber skills strengths-based training and employment program
  • Workventures for a cybersecurity career accelerator
  • Nansen for a boards, teachers and security professionals teaching program
  • Willyama Services for its Willyama Cyber Traineeship Program
  • Cybermerc for a Purple Team Australia Program
  • Red Piranha for a threat hunting and incident response training platform
  • University of Technology Sydney for a program to grow the cybersecurity workforce through the UTS Cyber Security Institute
  • Macquarie University for cross-disciplinary Cybersecurity Workforce Training Program

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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