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University launches cybersecurity centre

New national research centre to advance an urgently important field
By: Will Sloan
September 06, 2018
Charles Finlay, interim executive director of Cybersecure Catalyst

Charles Finlay, the new interim executive director of Cybersecure Catalyst – A National Centre for Cybersecurity

As businesses become increasingly digital, cybersecurity is an urgent priority. Ryerson University is launching Cybersecure Catalyst – A National Centre for Cybersecurity to promote training and certification, research and development, and commercial innovation in this growing field.

Cybersecurity is relevant to virtually every modern business, from protecting personal information and financial transactions to emerging technologies like autonomous vehicles. With skyrocketing demand, cybersecurity will have a trillion-dollar impact on the world economy and an unprecedented demand for global talent by 2021 – with observers predicting a zero-unemployment rate for this field.

The centre will focus on several core functions: training and certification; research and development; commercial incubation; public awareness; and policy. It will deliver training and certification programming; collaborate on research and development partnerships with the private sector; contribute to the development of public policy; and promote public education in the field of cybersecurity.

“Ryerson is transforming the digital space, and this centre is another example of Ryerson’s commitment to developing the next generation of talent,” says Steven Liss, vice-president, research and innovation at Ryerson. With the centre, Ryerson is poised to fill a major gap in the marketplace, and strengthen Canada’s position as a global cybersecurity leader.

“We have growing interest at a national level with our public security issues, national research council, policing, military, defense,” Liss adds. “Cybersecurity is as broad and as deep, and there’s not a single part of our world that won’t be affected by the ability to provide secure frameworks for digital space.”

Charles Finlay will serve as interim executive director, bringing extensive experience in public administration, law, and finance to the role, most recently as chief of staff and director of policy for the Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Growth.

“I’m incredibly excited about the new centre and all of the benefits it will bring to the Ryerson community and beyond,” said Finlay. “The challenges and opportunities of cybersecurity are immense. I’m looking forward to working closely with all members of the Ryerson community to build a vital hub of training and research.”

Ryerson University has breadth and depth in the cybersecurity field, currently boasting 26 researchers in cybersecurity-related disciplines (including two allocated Canada Research Chairs, to be filled soon), and a Privacy and Big Data Institute, opens in new window launched in 2014.

For more information on the Cybersecure Catalyst – A National Centre for Cybersecurity, please contact Charles Finaly at charlesfinlay@ryerson.ca 

This story appears as published in Ryerson Today on September 6, 2018.