Cyber Security - Capability Statement

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Position Australia as a leader in cutting edge cyber security research and innovation to safeguard Australia’s security, enhance resilience and enable economic growth.


Key facts for the Cyber Security Priority

  • Although the Federal Government’s current cyber security research support is difficult to quantify, initial analysis indicates that approximately $80 million of the $2.65 billion supporting national priorities is allocated directly to the Cyber Security Priority area.*
  • In terms of citation impact, an indicator of research quality, Australian research on this Priority ranks:
  • 1st out of 11 when compared against selected Asia Pacific countries**
  • 1st out of 15 when compared to selected European countries, Canada, New Zealand and USA.***
  • 52 per cent of Australian publications are produced with an international co-author

*  Data on two key initiatives – university research block grants and the R&D taxincentive – are not collected in a way that supports analysis against priorities.
** Selected Asia Pacific countries: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
*** Selected European countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

Current research strengths

  • Australian researchers focus on high quality R&D in niche areas of cyber security
    • For example, quantum technology, wireless technology and trustworthy hardware.
  • Australia is well regarded internationally for technology R&D and innovation.
  • As early adopters of new technology, Australia is a popular test bed for new technology which can attract commercial investment in home-grown R&D.


Practical challenges

  1. Highly-secure and resilient communications and data acquisition, storage, retention and analysis for government, defence, business, transport systems, emergency and health services.
  2. Secure, trustworthy and fault-tolerant technologies for software applications, mobile services, cloud computing and critical infrastructure.
  3. New technologies and approaches to support the nation’s cyber security: discovery and understanding of vulnerabilities, threats and their impacts, enabling improved risk-based decision making, resilience and effective responses to cyber intrusions and attacks.
  4. Understanding the scale of the cyber security challenge for Australia, including the social factors informing individuals, organisations, and national attitudes towards cyber security.


Action within this Priority will lead to opportunities to improve Australia’s cyber security through digital innovation, providing a competitive advantage in an increasingly connected world and effective and coordinated cyber security R&D which links students, researchers, entrepreneurs, start-up companies and businesses. It will assist Australia to overcome current research weaknesses and take advantage of strengths by:

  • identifying specific cyber security research areas that will deliver a comparative and competitive advantage for Australian cyber security R&D
  • strengthening partnerships between research institutions, governments and industry to scale current efforts, leverage shared ideas, target research towards key emerging challenges, and guide R&D towards strategic outcomes
  • linking cyber security R&D with commercialisation expertise
  • building depth and expertise in Australia’s cyber security skills pipeline by connecting STEM education, research and job opportunities
  • leveraging international partnerships
  • support initiatives to establish a cyber security Growth Centre (or a centre based on a similar model) to allow for better collaboration between business, researchers and industry
  • support initiatives in schools and higher education institutions to address the shortage of skilled cyber security professionals in Australia.

International Citation Comparison, 2010 to 2014

Cybersecurity International Citation Comparison 2010 to 2014

For this Priority, each circle represents one of the comparator countries, grouped into region by colour: circle size represents number of publications, while circle placement indicates the country’s weighted citations relative to Australia. Data are from Thomson Reuters InCites, with the Priority identified by a keyword search.

Australian Government Expenditure on Science and Research Priorities

Australian Government Expenditure on Science and Research Priorities

The Australian Government invests $9.7 billion in science, research and innovation. Approximately $2.65 billion of this investment can be attributed to research aligned to the nine Science and Research priorities. Data on university block grants and the R&D tax incentive – two key initiatives that have critical roles in supporting strategic, mission-directed research - are not collected in a way that supports analysis against the priorities.

Sources: 2015-16 Science, Research and Innovation Budget Tables; Research Strategies Australia, Science and Research Priorities and Practical Challenges, May 2015.

Australia’s Science and Research Priorities

Australia’s Science and Research Priorities identify areas that are of immediate and critical importance to the nation and its place in the world. They help align our research to industry and will make sure that we capitalise on our comparative advantages and address challenges.

The Australian Government will use the Priorities to guide a proportion of its research investment to areas of critical need and national importance. This capability snapshot is a vital step to make sure that we get this strategic investment right – it is about understanding what we spend now, what we are good at and where we need to improve.

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