The ANU Cyber Institute is a new strategic initiative of The Australian National University, delivered in partnership with the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the National Security College.

Introduction by CEO

It gives me great pleasure to introduce the newly formed ANU Cyber Institute to you. Mission-driven, but exploratory, interdisciplinary and inclusive in nature. Creativity and curiosity encouraged, not just expected. Trusted adviser to decision makers.

Dr. Lesley Seebeck, CEO


The ANU Cyber Institute aims to transform cyber for the betterment of humanity.

The ANU Cyber Institute will be a trusted advisor to government, industry and community, helping people and organisations understand the risks and their own vulnerabilities in the cyber world, and ensuring that cyber enables opportunity and freedom.

The Institute will do this by addressing long term problems only visible at the intersection of academia, government and industry, and building a new system of knowledge into the shape and nature of the cyber world.

The Institute will take these insights to create the best cyber professionals, equipped to meet the demands of a fast changing social, economic, technological and geostrategic environment in the 21st century.

Uniquely, the Institute will integrate its academic cyber program with a real-time security operations centre. The resultant Cyber Hub will be the nexus of research and learning, partnerships and community, in the physical and online world—the first of its kind in the world.

The Institute will model a different university experience for its students and its partners.

Modern usage applies ‘cyber’ as a shorthand for security concerns caused by technical problems, and best addressed with technical solutions.

But experience shows that cyber is a deeply human activity. It is about our motives, skills, and capabilities; our intent and how we use, or are used by technology; the culture in which we are embedded; and the expectations of nations.

For the ANU Cyber Institute, ‘cyber’ is about people and the problems that arise when people design, build and use technology.

Cyber is a constant series of move, counter-move, fix, and repeat on the dark side of our use of technology.

Unchecked systems will focus simply on building walls, and holding people’s wellbeing hostage. Aside from exhaustion or capitulation, there is no end to that state, and many are already fighting that battle.

Solely following that path will mean a retreat, a loss of trust in the scaffolding of our norms and institutions, and a limit to potential opportunity and freedom.

At the ANU Cyber Institute we think the approach to cyber needs to be smart and think ahead, find a balance, understand the risks, and develop adaptive resilience, so we can confidently rely on the digital technologies in our lives, our economy, our society, and our liberal, democratic culture.

We need to recast our understanding of the problem. We have to address the systems-of-systems and strategic levels, across all actors, to break the cycle. And we need the people, across all walks of life, who can do that.

The role of the ANU Cyber Institute is to be the catalyst for this change.

And we are looking for partners to build capability, identify the urgent and strategic, and collaborate on solutions in this new dynamic.

Leadership and Governance

The ANU Cyber Institute is led by professionals with applied experience in responding to cyber threats. Its Advisory Board is chaired by a Nobel Laureate, and the Institute draws on a breadth of world-class research and expertise. From the technical to the human sciences, and with an unrivalled lens on the Indo-Pacific, the Institute reinforces the special charter of the Australian National University as a resource of national significance.

Dr Lesley Seebeck is the inaugural CEO of the ANU Cyber Institute, and will be supported in the delivery of the Institute’s research and education programs by a Chief Scientist and a Chief Social Scientist. The development and implementation of the Cyber Hub will be managed in partnership with the university’s Chief Information Security Officer. As a business unit of The Australian National University, the ANU Cyber Institute draws on the professional support of the university, with a dedicated operations, engagement and outreach team to support delivery of the Institute’s strategy.

The Institute is governed under the Australian National University Act 1991 and the Public Governance, Performance & Accountability Act 2013, and has an Advisory Board constituted to provide high quality objective advice to the university regarding the Institute’s research and business plan and associated investment strategy.

The Advisory Board inaugural members will be announced in the near future.

Key Functions

The approach of the ANU Cyber Institute is to normalise cyber as a part of our everyday lives and workaday worlds.

Hands-on, real-life operations will be core, and one of the key differentiators of the Institute. The Cyber Hub will integrate the cyber security operations (CSOC) function of the ANU into the academic program. This represents a step change in research, education and service provision.

Together with an online presence, the Institute’s Cyber Hub will provide the opportunity to test ideas, and communicate and visualise cyber threats, mitigations and activities.

Access to a real-time, operational environment provides ideal training and research conditions. The Cyber Hub will cover a range of bespoke and highly specialised technologies, operated by a diverse and ever-changing mix of staff, students, and visitors on a distributed network within an academic institution which is a foreign target of interest.

Cyber Hub community members will join the best of the best, capable of contributing to and learning from a multi-dimensional space to define problems and seek solutions.

The intent of the ANU Cyber Institute is to do for cyber what the MBA did for management. The Institute’s program in cyber masters will build skill sets from conceptual frameworks and experiential learning.

The structure of cyber masters education will enable it to be readily adapted for individual academic development, executive education, international assistance, or to build organisational capability.

To be eligible for the full Cyber Masters qualification, a student will need to qualify for and complete a capstone project with an individual component and group-based scenario/s over two to three months. This will draw all the elements of cyber learning together and test them in practice.

Cyber Masters will demonstrate the social and ethical ethos, and have the strategic nous, to become the influential leaders in cyber technology, policy and law.

To design and deliver the best Cyber Masters program we will require the active partnership of a diverse set of organisations, people and skills.

  • Partner by collaborating on content design. Help us frame an experience that allows student understanding of industry, government and research; or test our foundational components with your staff.
  • Partner by becoming a community mentor. The Institute will establish a cyber masters community of learning accessible to anyone on its cyber learning path, creating a ‘stickiness’ that will have our graduates becoming part of a life of learning network.
  • Partner by sponsoring students or booking a customised session with your leadership team.

TARGET DELIVERY: First student cohort SEMESTER 1 2020

The ANU Cyber Institute will direct its focus towards initiatives which take a deep perspective on cyber.

Inter-disciplinarity and cross-sector collaboration is needed to lean forward into the difficult, wicked problems in cyber. Only with this combination can we hope to address both the near (symptom) and the deep (cause) issues.

Universities are engaged in the long-term: it takes time to build capacity, to learn deeply, to season research in emerging fields, to establish practice and devise solutions aimed at cause rather than symptom.

Problems and opportunities require an understanding of how relationships affect solutions across individual, organisational, nation state and global levels. The ANU Cyber Institute will catalyse these investigations and translate them into practical tools and advice.

Research program collaborators will be those who can shape an ecosystem of trust, through the ongoing exchange and shared practice necessary to ensure deep continued learning and sustained change.

Cyber is a team sport and so interaction, partnership and collaboration is embedded within the ANU Cyber Institute’s DNA.

TARGET DELIVERY: Interdisciplinary research program fully underway MID2020

The time is now. Let us know where and how you are best placed to be involved. And join us to bring trust, freedom and opportunity to cyber.- Dr. Lesley Seebeck, CEO

Strategic partnering

The vision of the ANU Cyber Institute speaks to well-established needs to address issues of cyber trust, design, risk and resilience highlighted by ecosystem enablers including the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network and Commonwealth of Australia’s domestic and international cyber strategies. Early market validation suggests that the ANU Cyber Institute is taking a genuinely unique approach to address these issues and also take advantage of the opportunities presented in the cyber world.

The ANU Cyber Institute has a critical role in shaping the future, but it is only one player in the overall ecosystem. We are looking for partners willing to lean forward into the future risks and opportunities of the digital revolution and pay forward to build capacity.

The Institute’s partnership model encourages participation from all cyber players – we are designing in permeability from the outset. This permeability is critical to seeding and amplifying activities across the broader ecosystem, and also growing the Australian cyber skills base at the rate needed. The Institute aims to develop under three levels of engagement via Foundation, Program and Project partners. Talk to us about your needs, and together we can develop a collaboration to create mutual value.

Foundation Partners

  • will co-invest time, expertise and funding to develop relevant research, co-design core offerings for the Cyber Masters program, and build the Cyber Hub in a real-world feedback loop;
  • are building the core offering of the Institute with Institute staff and assuming greater risk than those partnering on specific project or program output and will share in appropriate levels of rewards;
  • will mitigate risk by investing against a series of milestones, governed under a Board with Foundation Partners representation, while making significant in-kind contributions; and,
  • will be representative of entities in a collaborative supply chain that can together articulate problems, develop solutions and test application.

Program Partners

  • will partner on specific longer-term collaborative projects, involving research, education or operations centre sponsorship;
  • will leverage investment against achievement of specific program outputs, governed under a program agreement; and,
  • may be more diffuse in focus, and draw from extensive expertise across the ANU.

Project Partners

  • will transact on shorter term projects for specific set outcomes.