The European Training Network for CyberSecurity (NeCS) directly addresses the training and development of a European talent pool to help implement and support the European Cyber-security strategy, as highlighted in the EC’s Digital Agenda.
Given the pervasively growing dependency of society on IT technology, and the corresponding proliferation of cyber threats, there is both an imperative need and opportunity to grow a new generation of young researchers trained to handle the changing nature of the upcoming cyber challenges. These include evolvable threats and new technological means to exploit network and information security vulnerabilities of cyber systems that have direct socio-technical, societal and economic consequences for Europe and the world. Today there is a stronger need than ever to grow researchers that combine a strong academic foundation with practical experiences, technological expertise with awareness of the socio-economic and legal context and conviction to furthering research with an entrepreneurial spirit. Such fusion of multiple disciplines, academic excellence and exposure to real-life socio-technical systems and their challenges with a focus on cyber-security futures underpins the research and innovation training offered by NeCS and it is necessary for future growth in Europe.
Consequently, the 4-year NeCS project cyber-security training network makes a significant contribution towards meeting the increased demand of human expertise in this critical field. NeCS fosters a multi-sector/multi-disciplinary approach that is absolutely necessary for tackling coherently all cyber-security needs as recognized by the Network and Information Security (NIS) platform that has been recently established by the EU in order to develop a public/private cooperation strategy. Many of the consortium members are also contributing to the definition of the NIS strategy both in terms of its research and its roadmaps.
As cyber-security is inherently multi-sectorial, NeCS participants (beneficiaries and partners), by design, span both the academic sector (6 members) and the non-academic sector (5 members). The NECS training network comprehensively collects and links multi-disciplinary expertise in the cyber-security security area, ranging from social science and legal expertise for ICT to security metrics and risk assessment and mitigation techniques, to cyber-security technology, systems and operations, considering also information sharing aspects and regulation compliance of information processing procedures. Further to the above, NeCS offers to trainees personalised research and innovation training plans that uniquely combine cutting edge science with exposure to real-life systems, data and case-studies and with specialized training in complementary soft skills with a strong emphasis on research exploitation, entrepreneurial and communication competence. This further enhances, the competences of the 15 ESRs, in a rapidly growing and very demand job market for cyber-security that spans across industry, research/academia, regulatory bodies, and beyond.
In addition to the training capabilities developed within this training network, NeCS aspires to become a very significant asset for the European Research Area (ERA) enabling to effectively address the cyber-security challenges that are gaining continuous attention at all levels of the European society.