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Florian Kerschbaum

Executive Director, University of Waterloo’s Cybersecurity & Privacy Institute

Canadian universities are gearing up to develop a new wave of cybersecurity experts.


Cybersecurity threats and privacy intrusions now make headlines across the globe, pitting Canadian industry and universities in a race to close a talent gap for innovative solutions.

The federal government in Ottawa had this in mind when it announced a multi-pronged strategy it coined the National Cyber Security Action Plan that would run from 2019 to 2024. It also recently re-launched its Cyber Security Cooperation Program, with $10.3 million in funding over five years to foster improved collaboration on special projects.

Universities are also doing their part in educating and training the next wave of cybersecurity experts. This includes courses and research in areas like computer science, engineering, mathematics, cryptography, and quantum computing. 

Canada has the opportunity to position itself as a trusted global leader in cybersecurity.

Florian Kerschbaum, Executive Director at the University of Waterloo’s Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute

Training for the future

“Canada has the opportunity to position itself as a trusted global leader in cybersecurity,” says Florian Kerschbaum, Executive Director at the University of Waterloo’s Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute. “We’re already ranked among the top 10 cybersecurity research groups in the world, and our goal is to improve this position to be the most respected source an organization reaches out to for knowledge and expertise.”

To achieve this ambitious goal, new graduate degree executive training programs and “world-leading” research and technology will need to be part of the mix, he adds. Students exposed to the newest technologies could be poised to shape the field and become future  leaders in the space. 

“They can become inventors, developers, or engineers who actually develop the next generation of cybersecurity products in Canada for the world,” says Kerschbaum.  

University of Waterloo: By the Numbers

The University of Waterloo is home to the world’s largest co-op program and the highest concentration of math and computer science talent in the world.In Canada, their students account for31 percent of all co-operative education participants. With statistics like this, it’s hard to quantify the impact of their programs, but here are a few fast facts from the university:

Research Impact

  • Canada’s #1 research university for 11 years, comprehensive category (Research Infosource, 2018)
  • #1 in Canada for computer security (CSRankings, 2019)
  • #1 in Canada (U.S. News and World Report Best, 2019) and#10 in the world for computer security (CSRankings, 2019)

Talent Impact

  • #1 in Canada for career preparation (Maclean’s, 2018)
  • #1 in Canada for employer-
  • student connections and #5 in the world for partnerships with employers (QS Graduate Employability Rankings, 2019)
  • 7 in 10 incoming students registered in a co-op program (Fall, 2017)

Economic Impact

  • #1 school in Canada for venture-backed capital enterprises (PitchBook Data, 2018)
  • 33% of research funding at the university comes from industry collaborations

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