30 June 2022

Abertay cyberQuarter to host the world’s only multidisciplinary cyber competition

The Atlantic Council's Cyber 9/12 Challenge comes to Scotland for the first time

A competition that seeks to identify and foster the next generation of cybersecurity leaders will be hosted at Abertay’s new hub for cyber research and innovation later this year. 

The Cyber 9/12 Challenge, run by the Atlantic Council in partnership with the Scottish Government, Dewar Consulting and the University, will be held at the Abertay cyberQuarter on 18-19 October 2022.  

This year’s edition of the Challenge is the first to be held in Scotland and has been specifically developed for college and university students to gain a deeper understanding of cyber strategy and policy challenges.  

The launch event for the competition was held in the Abertay cyberQuarter on Thursday 30 June 2022 with Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, in attendance.  

Founded in Washington, DC, in 2012, the Cyber 9/12 Challenge sees competitors assume the role of advisors navigating a significant cyber incident. The scenario specifically examines cybersecurity threats and risk management strategies to increase resilience in an increasingly connected society. 

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

The prevalence of digital technology means that cybersecurity is essential for all aspects of modern life, so it is right that its impacts are considered from multiple policy angles. The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge will enable Scottish students from all academic disciplines to gain hands-on insight into the growing threat presented by serious cyber-attacks, and the many private and public sector career possibilities in this field. It is a fantastic development opportunity and I’m grateful to all partners for their support in bringing this international challenge to Scotland.

This competition allows student competitors to gain valuable and realistic learning experiences on technical, policy, and strategy aspects of cybersecurity. Furthermore, the competition also convened current senior cybersecurity leaders from around the globe to mentor and connect with the next generation of multidisciplinary cyber leaders. 

Dr Natalie Coull, Head of the Division of Cybersecurity at Abertay University, said:

The Atlantic Council’s Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is a fantastic event which will provide students with an invaluable training experience and important insights into how cyber strategy and policy are shaped. As Scotland’s only gold-level Academic Centre for Excellence in Cyber Security Education, Abertay is in an ideal position to host the challenge and I look forward to seeing how our students tackle the scenario they are given.

Robert Dewar, Director of Dewar Cyber Consulting, said:

Dewar Cyber Consulting is really excited to bring the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge to Scotland. I have been involved with the Challenge for several years, first as a judge and then as the Director of the Geneva iteration. I have seen first-hand what an exciting learning experience this can be for both the competitors and the expert judges. 

The Abertay cyberQuarter, funded by the UK and Scottish Governments through the Tay Cities Region Deal, officially opened on June 15 2022. The centre provides a new home for the Scottish cybersecurity sector where industry partners can mix with Abertay students and academics, creating new solutions to global cybersecurity challenges through innovation, research and development. Crucially, Abertay cyberQuarter will contribute to the creation of job opportunities that will help keep the best Scottish industry and graduate talent in Scotland. 

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