Boosts to Australia’s cyber security capabilities – AustCyber’s final four projects announced from $15 million Project Fund


The Australian Cyber Security Centre’s revised website went live on Friday to provide expert cyber security advice and assistance to Australians and their families, small and medium businesses, large organisations and critical infrastructure providers, and Government, through a single digital portal. Making the announcement, Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, said, “malicious cyber activity is increasing in frequency, scale, and sophistication, making the accessibility of practical cyber security advice more important than ever.”

Tomorrow, AustCyber will announce the final four projects who received funding as part of the almost $8.5 million released earlier this year to boost Australia’s cyber security industry. The AustCyber Projects Fund was a $15 million, three-year initiative designed to help the industry grow both locally and globally.

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AustCyber’s Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Price, said, “The growing demand for cyber security products and services is a significant economic opportunity for Australia. Supporting cyber resiliency improves our nation’s overall global competitiveness, as well as its security. The news of sustained cyber attacks over recent weeks highlights the importance of digital trust and building a resilient cyber security infrastructure for Australia.

“The field of applications for this round of AustCyber’s Projects Fund was highly competitive and covered a wide range of areas of cyber capability. The recipients were selected through a robust process supported by industry experts, who helped us with the tough job of narrowing down which applications would receive funding.

“The Projects Fund is one of our key mechanisms used to identify and support cyber security innovation through to commercialisation in Australia, complementing projects funded through industry, research organisations and other government initiatives. It is also great to see Australian companies partnering with domestic and international corporates within the broader ecosystem. AustCyber is excited to be working with recipients and their consortia partners as they deliver on their projects over the next twelve months.”

The first round of AustCyber’s Projects Fund provided $6.5 million in matched funding to ten industry-led projects. The combined value of the projects provided a total contribution of approximately $35.8 million to growing Australia’s cyber security sector, which has had the double benefit of delivering globally competitive cyber security capability to the world.

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The final four projects are:

South Metropolitan TAFE is leading a national consortia project to the value of $450,000 to continue to deepen the framework for the national delivery of vocational cyber security education and training. This includes accelerating national access for TAFEs to consistent content in teaching resources, regardless of their various technical environments.

Cybermerc is leading a consortia project to the value of $2,440,000 to establish a national Threat Intelligence Portal to collect and share data of new cyber attacks targeting Australian businesses. Cyber security startup’s and Australian universities will be able to use the Threat Intelligence Portal to test and develop next generation defensive cyber technologies.

The University of Adelaide is leading a consortia project to the value of $313,387 to develop the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to provide cyber focused resources and challenges to support and encourage Australian schoolteachers in national cyber security education efforts. This project is delivered in partnership with Google Australia and CSIRO. Untapped is leading a consortia project to the value of $220,000 to develop a virtual, cloud-based, cyber security training and assessment centre in Australia to connect individuals with cyber security employment opportunities and options for further study.

Untapped is delivering this project in partnership with DXC Technology’s Dandelion Program, La Trobe University and Curtin University.

AustCyber Project Funds – case studies

Untapped – Quotes below to be attributed to Untapped CEO, Andrew Eddy

“Untapped is a social enterprise with the mission to build high-performing teams from groups of highly-skilled individuals. We are passionate about identifying commercially-compelling opportunities in organisations for neurodiverse teams and uncovering extraordinary individuals to form those teams.

“The identification of this untapped talent will be achieved via a growing network of Neurodiversity Hubs and other partnerships and, in conjunction with world-leading partners, by applying cutting-edge testing and assessment techniques. The sustainability of these programs is achieved through world-leading training and support, utilising the world’s leading neurodiverse assistive technologies.

“The Neurodiversity Hub initiative ( is about facilitating neurodiverse students becoming more work-ready and increasing their chances of securing a job and a career. It is also an opportunity for employers to partner with the Hub and better understand and access this cohort’s talent.”

What has the project fund done for Untapped?

“Through some of the employment programs we are associated with, it has become clear that there is a low level of understanding amongst young autistic adults about the career opportunities in the cyber security area. We have also determined through our experience that cyber is an area where many neurodiverse people excel delivering outstanding results for employers.”

“What the fund has allowed us to do is form a consortium of businesses, universities and service providers to create a platform to help generate interest in cyber security and create pathways for young autistic people to further study and gain employment.”

Do you have a vision or goal for Australia’s workplace neurodiversity?

“Untapped’s goal is to promote the benefit of deliberate neurodiverse employment across Australia and New Zealand and create successful programs focused on sustainment and facilitating careers rather than just creating jobs.”

Cybermerc – Quotes below to be attributed to CyberMerc CEO, Matthew Nevin

“Cybermerc was founded by two brothers who spent their careers in law enforcement, national security and the military, witnessing first-hand the rising volume of cybercrime attacks against Australia. The cyber security community agreed that government, industry and academia needed to work together to solve the problem, but Cybermerc wanted to turn talk into action and create a technical solution capable of securing Australian networks.”

“In 2018, AustCyber provided Cybermerc with funding and an opportunity to create a sovereign Australian security solution. The resulting technology – AUSHIELD PROTECT connected Australian small businesses together in a defensive collaboration. An attack on one business was used to update the defences of every other business. Throughout the project, Cybermerc worked with AustCyber on a shared vision of protecting Australia’s Digital Economy.”

What has the project fund done for Cybermerc?

“Without AustCyber’s support, past and present, Cybermerc would not have been able execute the vision of developing AUSHIELD as a sovereign capability. AUSHIELD is now a commercially successful product, offering Australian businesses a unique, world-first security technology.”

“With another successful funding grant, Cybermerc are now able to build the final piece of a capability we began to imagine four years ago. Cybermerc’s vision is to have all Australian small businesses linked together by AUSHIELD PROTECT. The first to be attacked will update the defences of every other business. For enterprise clients, Cybermerc will hunt for sophisticated threats using our AUSHIELD DETECT sensors and train security staff on the latest techniques to protect their networks. Finally, AUSHIELD DEFEND will give all Australians an online collaboration space where communities-of-interest can form, share threat information and work together to defend Australian networks’. This includes Universities and research institutions who will, as a world-first, have access to the very latest malware, and be able to use this to work with industry on a whole-of-nation effort to defend our Digital Economy.”

TAFECyber – Quotes to be attributed to Julia Burns, Executive Director Training, South Metropolitan TAFE

What is the TAFECyber – Cyber Security Vocational Education to Strengthen the National Workforce project?

“TAFECyber is a consortium of ten Australian TAFE colleges committed to creating an advanced cyber security training sector in Australia. Partnering with AustCyber to support this goal, the TAFECyber project will see the development of national capability through a collaborative effort between training providers, supported by funding from the AustCyber Projects Fund.

“The project will achieve several outcomes, including the establishment of a central repository for leading edge learning resources, development of training products and the maintenance of a high quality system as well as the development of Training Cyber Security Operations Centre (TCSOC) interconnectivity between TAFE colleges across Australia and professional development of lecturers to secure retention of expert staff. The project will also see the TAFECyber brand develop as an international benchmark for the highest level of agile cyber security training to meet industry needs.”

Why did you partner with AustCyber?

“Partnering with AustCyber positions the TAFECyber consortium to work with one of Australia’s leading cyber security industry organisations, providing an opportunity to be part of a broader vision to develop a competitive, advance cyber security sector in Australia.

“The partnership provides the opportunity to receive matched financial contributions under the AustCyber Projects Fund, providing a unique opportunity to grow capability through this collaborative project. The benefits of this partnership with AustCyber include being able to be guided by AustCyber on domestic and international opportunities as well as the advantages of connection with other funding recipients as we develop our part of Australia’s cyber security ecology”

What long term outcomes do you want to see out of TAFECyber?

“The establishment of an Internationally recognised leader in cyber security training and a consortium that has developed a strong sustainable model of agile and highly current training to meet immediate industry needs.

“Also, the development of a governance model that is financially sustainable without further government funding and the development of highly valuable relationships with our commercial industry partners so that we can build on the rich ecology that will define Australia’s strategic advantage in cyber security.

“Including the development of a sophisticated network of physical and cloud-based training cyber security operations centres that connect to provide Australian students with world’s best practice training. Also, the development of relationships with our international partners in countries identified by Foreign Affairs and trade as strategic markets.”

The University of Adelaide massively open online courses (“MOOCs”) Quotes to be attributed to Dr Rebecca Vivian

What is the Cyber Security Teacher Professional Learning project about?

“This project, led by The University of Adelaide, in partnership with Google Australia and CSIRO, will provide free professional learning for F-10 Australian teachers in Cyber Security to build their confidence and capacity to integrate cybersecurity education in the classroom and engage students in the growing industry and careers.

“The professional learning program includes free online self-paced massively open online courses (“MOOCs”) for both primary and secondary teachers introducing cyber security topics and practical classroom activities, further supported through face-to-face workshops. We also provide additional support for educators to champion cybersecurity professional learning in their own communities with specific “PL-in-a-Box” materials aligned to our MOOCs. This project builds on existing high-quality resources and programs such as the previously AustCyber funded ACA Cyber Security Challenges in combination with fresh lesson ideas that teachers can teach with and without computers.”

Why did you partner with AustCyber?

“AustCyber recognises the need to engage and prepare future generations – identifying an urgent need to grow both our Cyber Security talent pool in Australia – estimating a further 11,000 cybersecurity workers over the next decade. Only 0.4% of the national teacher workforce have specialist qualifications within ICT and with the F-10 Digital Technologies curriculum still being new to many teachers, our education sector desperately needs support and resources to assist in meeting this challenge.

“There has been significant effort and funding directed towards STEM-based professional learning of recent years, primarily directed towards the fundamentals of the incoming Digital Technologies Curriculum and general ICT capability. In order to support this need, and engagement with the growing availability of student-focused resources and competitions, there is an urgent need to support teachers in building confidence and capability in Cyber Security.

“AustCyber’s goals and mission align with the learning and teaching needs of our education community to engage future generations in cybersecurity.”

How did the Project Fund help the MOOC get off the ground?

“This grant has provided a strong partnership platform and ability to bring industry and education together, supporting us to develop and deliver high-quality cybersecurity resources and professional learning for teachers across Australia through a collaborative and strategic effort. The funding has supported the hiring of education and Computer Science specialists to develop content aligned to classroom and teacher needs and to deliver engaging professional learning sessions. The funding allows us to make the MOOCs and professional learning sessions free and open-source – at no cost to teachers across Australia.”

What long term outcomes do you want to see out of the program?

“To build confidence and capability in teachers to deliver Cyber Security related curricula and access Cyber Security related resources in their classrooms. To embed a deeper understanding of the challenges and risks of the digital age in the education of all young people, so that they might adopt proactive and informed behaviors in the face of rapidly changing technologies.

“Also, to raise awareness amongst young people, their teachers and parents about the opportunities for jobs and careers in Cyber Security.”

Previously announced projects in this round included funding for:

For more information about the AustCyber Projects Fund and previous recipients, visit