Associate Professor named diversity champion for cyber security

An associate professor at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has won a national award for her work to help make the cyber security sector more diverse and inclusive.

Dr Ismini Vasileiou was named the winner of the Academic Champion Award at this year’s Cyber Diversity Awards run by the Ethnic Minority in Cyber (EMiC).

inset ismini with dsit team
Dr Vasileiou with some of the team from the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT)

Dr Vasileiou, who is an Associate Professor at DMU’s School of Computing, is also the Director of the East Midlands Cyber Security Cluster where she works alongside police and industry to help businesses to protect themselves against cyber threats.

She said: “I was so shocked to receive this award, it was such a surprise. We know there is a lot to be done in the cyber community to ensure that it properly represents society today. Everyone benefits when we bring different views, experiences and approaches to work together.

"At DMU we are working hard to ensure that students feel heard and to champion diversity and inclusion across not only our cyber and computing courses but the whole university."

The awards honour those who have shown outstanding commitment to fostering diversity, equality and inclusion in cybersecurity. They aim to raise awareness about the under-representation of ethnic minorities in the cybersecurity sector.

The Academic Champion Award recognizes an individual who has made significant advancements in research, teaching, and advocacy for diversity in cybersecurity education and academia.

During her career, Dr Vasileiou has led successful Athena Swan applications, which champion women in HE, introduced positive changes for single parents and developed peer-assisted learning schemes. She has worked to promote diversity and inclusivity as well as neurodiverse perspectives in her teaching and research.

Cyber security contributes £10billion a year to the economy and the UK is now the third largest exporter of global cyber security services. But just 22% of the workforce is female and 13% of those in senior cyber roles are women, and only 18% of staff are from ethnic minority backgrounds. The UK Cyber Security Council has also said it wants to increase the talent pool to include more neurodiverse staff and those from non-university backgrounds into the sector.

The awards ceremony which was held in Wolverhampton, has been sponsored by leading industry businesses including CGI IT UK, CompTIA, Cyber Q Group, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and Accenture UK.

Posted on Tuesday 28 May 2024

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