Kent wins Cyber University of the Year

Gary Hughes
(L-R) Dr Oscar Zhou and Dr Virginia Franqueira receive the University's award from Lee Scorey, co-founder of Consultants Like Us

We are delighted to report that Kent has been named Cyber University of the Year in the Real Cyber Awards 2023.

The Awards, which were created to recognise those who are making ‘a real difference in the virtual world that has impact in the real world’, represent organisations and individuals from Cyber Security, Data Protection and Information Security.

For the University of the Year category, nominees were required to evidence their outreach and engagement with the broader cybersecurity community. This included collaborations with industry partners, government agencies, and other academic institutions to promote cybersecurity education and research. They were also required to demonstrate their commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in the field.

Kent was represented at the Leeds ceremony by Dr Virginia Franqueira, Deputy Director (Education) of the University’s Institute of Cyber Security for Society (iCSS) and Dr Oscar Zhou, iCSS’s Deputy Director for Interdisciplinarity.

Of the Award, Professor Shujun Li, iCSS Director and Outreach Lead, said: ‘We feel hugely honoured to have won this award. We are glad to see that our wider impact and engagement activities in cyber security in recent years have been appreciated and valued by others. In 2023, such activities have led to three major initiatives benefiting local organisations and people in Kent and Medway — KMCS3 (Kent & Medway Cyber Security Student Society), KMCC (Kent & Medway Cyber Cluster), and KMCSN (Kent & Medway CyberSchools Network), which collectively help engage with a wide range of beneficiaries including university students, local businesses, local schools, teachers and pupils. We have big plans for 2024, and can’t wait to see how our local cyber security ecosystem will evolve in the next a few years.’

Of the University, the organiser’s said: ‘We were impressed by Kent and its Institute of Cyber Security for Society on many levels. This includes its status as a UK Government recognised Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR), its leading internationally recognised cyber security research, and education activities across the institution. iCSS’s work and that of its Director, Professor Shujun Li, have also resulted in the development of the University’s leading academic provision in the field, and its ongoing development as a leading light in the cyber security ecosystem. It is this individual and collective commitment that impressed the judges, who were looking for a university that has made a REAL difference.’

Kent is one of only 19 UK universities that are recognised as Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACEs-CSR) by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC, part of the GCHQ) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, part of UKRI – UK Research and Innovation). Since 2023, iCSS represents the University as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACEs-CSE) with a Gold Award status, recognised by the NCSC. iCSS also supports the University’s Cyber Security Improvement Group (CSIG), established in 2021 together with the Institute.