Improving Australia’s cybersecurity resilience is the aim of a new partnership between global technology company Cisco and the University of Canberra. The partnership includes:

  • The establishment of Innovation Central Canberra – a hub for industry and government to validate cybersecurity technologies, develop prototypes and de-risk the adoption process. The innovation centre is the sixth in a national network of Cisco innovation centres co-located on university campuses.
  • The creation of a joint Research Chair in Critical Infrastructure and Defence. The Chair position will focus on applied research related to cybersecurity across several industries including Defence.
  • Expansion of Cisco’s Networking Academy to the University of Canberra, which provides learning curricula for careers in technology, including cybersecurity.

19 October 2022, Canberra – Cisco and the University of Canberra have announced a partnership focused on addressing the cybersecurity skills shortage, securing Australia’s critical infrastructure, and expanding the National Industry Innovation Network (NIIN), an alliance of companies and universities focused on the role that digital can play in meeting Australia’s economic and social challenges.

The partnership, which has a major focus on Defence and critical infrastructure, will allow companies to experiment with new technologies, collaborate on applied research and to address forecast cyber security skills shortages.

“Cybersecurity is a major challenge for us at every level, and certainly for industry, government and universities – therefore, it is equally a major source of new jobs and innovation.   There is enormous scope for Australia to improve its resilience against cyber attacks including the use of advanced digital technologies,” University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Professor Paddy Nixon said.

“Improving Australia’s cyber resilience will require action on many fronts: industry-driven research, applied innovation, and a focus on meeting current and future demand for specialist skills.

“The University of Canberra is looking forward to working with Cisco and other industry and education partners to tackle some of the nation’s most pressing challenges related to cybersecurity, and digital adoption more broadly.”

As part of the partnership the University of Canberra and Innovation Central Canberra will join the National Industry Innovation Network(NIIN), an alliance between industry and universities that aims to realise digital opportunities that can benefit the lives of all Australians.

“The partnership with the University of Canberra is a strategically important element in terms of what we are trying to achieve with National Industry Innovation Network. Cisco is committed and is investing in strategic partnerships with universities to accelerate the adoption of technology and address major risks to the Australian economy and society.


L-R: Ms Alicia Payne, MP, Federal Member for Canberra; Professor Lucy Johnston, Office of the DVC Research and Enterprise, University of Canberra; Reg Johnson, Director, Education and Strategic Industries, Cisco Australia & New Zealand; Ben Dawson, Vice President, Cisco Australia & New Zealand; Professor Janine Deakin, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science & Technology; Kumudu Munasinghe, PhD, Head of School – IT and Systems, University of Canberra and interim Cisco Research Chair – Innovation Central Canberra; Professor Paddy Nixon, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Canberra.

The focus on cybersecurity recognises that protection of data and infrastructure needs to be a national priority. It also acknowledges the important role that Canberra plays from a cybersecurity policy, skills and operations perspective, including in Defence and national security,” Cisco ANZ Vice President Ben Dawson said.

“Cisco’s investment in the National Industry Innovation Network is producing great results in areas as diverse as critical infrastructure, Net Zero, hybrid work and accelerating digital transformation.”

The Research Chair in Defence & Critical Infrastructure will also be integrated into the NIIN and benefit from Cisco’s global partnerships and complementary capabilities offered by this network in critical infrastructure, securing assets of national interest and the defence sectors.

Professor Janine Deakin, Executive Dean of the University’s Faculty of Science and Technology, said that Innovation Canberra Central will take the Faculty’s engagement with industry to a new level.

“It brings fantastic opportunities for our staff and students to engage with industry on major real-world challenges related to cybersecurity, critical infrastructure and defence,” Professor Deakin said.

“Being part of the National Industry Innovation Network will bring opportunities for our staff and students to collaborate more broadly with other universities and industries across the country.”

Cisco Networking Academy is celebrating its 25th anniversary and continues to be one of the longest-standing IT skills-to-jobs programs in the world.

About Cisco:

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in technology that powers the Internet. Cisco inspires new possibilities by reimagining your applications, securing your data, transforming your infrastructure, and empowering your teams for a global and inclusive future. Discover more on The Newsroom and follow us on Twitter.

Cisco Networking Academy is a global IT and cybersecurity education program that provides best-in-class courses, tools, and resources to help people from all backgrounds participate in the digital economy. A powerful skills-to-jobs program, Networking Academy helps students develop in-demand industry skills and connects them with peers, mentors, and real jobs.

About the University of Canberra:

The University of Canberra is one of the world’s leading young universities and has been ranked number one in the world for reducing inequalities for two consecutive years by the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings.

UC is a leader in teaching and research in environmental science, medical science and biomedical science together with data science, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, robotics, cloud computing and cybersecurity through the Faculty of Science and Technology. Our academic staff are world-renowned and respected industry leaders, committed to sharing their knowledge, experience and professional connections with our students.

Cisco Networking Academy is celebrating its 25th anniversary and continues to be one of the longest-standing IT skills-to-jobs programs in the world.


Contact the University of Canberra media team:

Danielle Meddemmen, Media Officer

Danielle.meddemmen@canberra.edu.au, or 0418 806 293

Suzanne Lazaroo, Communications Manager

Suzanne.lazaroo@canberra.edu.au or 0409 140 415

Contact the Cisco media team:

Adela Amanowicz, Public Relations Manager

aamanowi@cisco.com or 0402 090 434

L-R: Professor Janine Deakin, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science & Technology, University of Canberra; Ben Dawson, Vice President, Cisco Australia & New Zealand, Professor Paddy Nixon, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Canberra.