The NSW government is putting $2 million toward a new university-led NSW Cyber Security Network.

The network will bring together leading engineers, scientists and experts from seven NSW universities: University of New South Wales, University of Sydney, University of Wollongong, Macquarie University, University of Newcastle, University of Technology Sydney and Western Sydney University.

Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Victor Dominello, said the network can help NSW navigate the threat of cyber security while also capitalising on the opportunities.

“Cyber security is an evolving threat and that’s why we’re partnering with some of the country’s best and brightest researchers to ensure systems within government and the private sector are resilient and fit-for-purpose in 2018 and beyond,” he said.

“This is also an opportunity to boost our growing cyber security workforce and promote the importance of STEM.

“The global market for cyber protection is forecast to be worth $170 billion by 2020, and NSW is in a unique position to be a jobs hub for this emerging sector.”

The network will identify solutions to cyber security threats, train cyber specialists and begin developing a specialist workforce and provide advice to industry.

NSW’s Chief Scientist & Engineer, Mary O’Kane, said the network is a way for NSW to play to its strength.

“This initiative takes the state’s strength in cyber security R&D across public universities and research institutions and connects it with government agencies and businesses experiencing cyber security challenges.”

The inaugural Chair of the network will be Neville Steven AO.

The University of Sydney has already taken its own steps toward increasing cyber standards, setting up the Sydney Cyber Security Network in February 2016.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Duncan Ivison, said Australia can lead the way when it comes to cyber security standards.

“Australia’s research capacity has the potential to play a critically important role in solving contemporary challenges such as cyber security,” he said.

“The University of Sydney is delighted to be a partner university of the NSW Cyber Security Network.

“In the new technology-driven global economy, research investment and development is more important than ever.”

The announcement of the network follows the recent launch of TAFEs Certificate IV and Advanced Diploma in Cyber Security.