Napier University’s cybersecurity course approved by UK Government’s GCHQ

Napier's course may not produce spies for TV but it is approved by the UK government's GCHQ. Picture: contributed
Napier's course may not produce spies for TV but it is approved by the UK government's GCHQ. Picture: contributed
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Napier University’s work to train the next generation of cybersecurity experts has been endorsed by the government organisation aiming to make Britain the safest place to work and do business online.

The university’s BEng (Hons) in cybersecurity and forensics has become the first undergraduate course in the UK to be fully certified by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), whose parent organisation is GCHQ.

Our programmes have been designed with an industry focus, but with a strong academic foundation

BILL BUCHANAN

The announcement is another accolade for the university’s Cyber Academy, which takes the fight to cyber criminals by working with a series of organisations to design effective measures to prevent and investigate security breaches.

The BEng course helps meet the UK’s growing demand for security engineers by adding specialist knowledge of digital forensics, data security and software development to undergraduates’ general computing skills and network knowledge. In gaining NCSC certification, the Cybersecurity and Forensics course had to meet rigorous assessment criteria, demanding well-defined content delivered to the highest standard to satisfy a panel of experts drawn from industry, academia and government.

NCSC-certified courses help students make informed choices when looking for a highly valued qualification, and employers to recruit skilled staff and develop the cyber skills of existing employees.

NCSC-certification also boosts universities’ efforts to attract high-quality students from around the world, helping make the UK resilient to cyber attack and one of the most secure spaces to do business in cyberspace.

And spinout companies launched from research projects at the Cyber Academy are now making headlines in their own right.

ZoneFox – which grew out of university PhD research and specialises in cloud-based insider threat detection – was recently taken over by California-based cybersecurity giant Fortinet, and Cyan Forensics, which has developed digital forensic technology to help catch criminals faster, has brought in nearly £1.5million in funding since it was founded in 2016.

Professor Bill Buchanan, who leads the cybersecurity subject group and research centre, said: “Our programmes have been designed with an industry focus, but also with a strong academic foundation. The certification thus showcases both the quality of our academic environment, along with the quality of our graduates.”

Chris Ensor, NCSC deputy director for skills and growth, said: “I am delighted to see Edinburgh Napier becoming the first university in the UK to achieve full certification for this undergraduate degree which combines study of both cybersecurity and forensics. Certified courses are an important aspect of our continued efforts to provide the right environment to deliver the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.”

Professor Sally Smith, Dean of Computing at Edinburgh Napier, said: “The programme team and the wider subject group have worked extremely hard to create an exceptional course and achieve this external certification, which enhances the already excellent reputation which we have for cybersecurity at Edinburgh Napier University.”