Prof. Donna O’Shea contributes to Joint Committee on Transport and Communications' Vision for Cyber Security

02 Jun, 2023

Min read

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The Joint Committee on Transport and Communications met on Wednesday, 31st May 2023, to discuss a common vision for cyber security in Ireland.

MTU’s Chair of Cybersecurity and Cyber Skills Project Lead, Prof. Donna O’Shea, and Computer Science Head of Department, Dr. Sean McSweeney had the opportunity to contribute to the discussion.

Watch the full Committee discussion and Prof. Donna O’Shea’s opening statement at 38.25 minutes

Their recommendations for the future of cyber security in Ireland include:

  1. Establishing an SFI Research Centre in Cybersecurity bringing together HEIs with industry, business, public sector, and security forces partners.
  2. Ensuring a fixed percentage of all national funding for digitalization be specifically ring fenced for cybersecurity.
  3. Establishing cybersecurity infrastructure to support collaborative R&D and skills and training.

In her opening statement, Prof Donna O’Shea stated that “Cyber capabilities within our own borders are important because even though talent can often be evenly distributed throughout the world, the opportunity for engaging that talent in the innovation economy is not equal.

Innovation driven entrepreneurship clusters develop high concentration clusters around the world. In the cybersecurity sector, this clustering is particularly evident with cybersecurity innovation highly localized to specific regions supported by Government funded innovation ecosystems, Versova in Israel, Tallinn in Estonia, and Belfast in Northern Ireland are well known examples of established innovation ecosystems in cybersecurity.”

Prof. O’Shea emphasised the potential for a shared digital island which represents enormous opportunities for economic social advancement as physical political borders are becoming increasingly insignificant and the need for a common approach to protect the island of Ireland as a whole.

Prof. O’Shea also highlighted the need to establish a baseline standard of cybersecurity education with 50% of that education dedicated to practical activities.

In closing, Prof. O’Shea summarised the challenge and opportunity for the future is to ensure that Ireland has the capacity and capability to develop research development and innovation solutions to deal with the increasingly complex and expanding threat landscape that is a consequence of digitalization, and to realise this opportunity greater investment is required to ensure that we develop a more cohesive and responsive research development and innovation ecosystem supported by a highly skilled workforce of professionals.


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