2/19/24 · Technology

UOC part of new Cybersecurity Chair to encourage more women to enter the field

As well as strengthening teaching, research and knowledge transfer in this field in the public and private sectors, the Chair also seeks to promote a culture of cybersecurity and inspire people to work in this sector, especially young and teenage girls

The Chair will be coordinated by Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) through an agreement with Spanish National Cybersecurity Institute (INCIBE); other participants include Université Paris-Saclay, the Institut Polytechnique de Paris and the companies Lambda, Mobile World Capital and Oracle
Woman with a mobile using a VPN

According to the "2022 Women in Cybersecurity report", women hold 25% of jobs related to this sector (photo: Petter Lagson / unsplash.com)

The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) is participating in the new ARTEMISA Cybersecurity Chair coordinated by Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), which is the result of a collaboration agreement with the Spanish National Cybersecurity Institute (INCIBE). The Chair will strengthen university teaching and research on cybersecurity and promote the transfer of knowledge in this field to the public and private sectors. It also seeks to promote the culture of cybersecurity among the public and increase diversity and social inclusion in this area, especially by promoting careers in this field among women.

Through this agreement, which has an initial term of three years, INCIBE undertakes to provide financial, technical, institutional and personnel support to the Chair. The UPF, in turn, will coordinate the Chair's programme of activities, with the UOC's involvement and co-funding. Université Paris-Saclay, the Institut Polytechnique de Paris and the companies Lambda, Mobile World Capital and Oracle are also collaborating. The three firms will carry out public awareness activities, round tables of experts and outreach actions for families and schools. The Cybersecurity Agency of Catalonia will also support the Chair.


Reinforcing cybersecurity training and research

The Chair will promote more teaching activities on cybersecurity thanks to the creation of a cyber range laboratory, a virtual environment to put skills and knowledge in this field into practice, as well as audiovisual teaching material. High-quality and original research on cybersecurity will also be carried out. This will focus, among other aims, on the development of innovative solutions.

Another line of action of the Chair involves helping the most talented students in the field of cybersecurity make their way in the professional world to transfer their knowledge. Collaboration between students, graduates and companies in the sector will be encouraged in order to generate opportunities for knowledge exchange and employment, including internships and collaborative projects with companies.


Promoting careers in cybersecurity, especially among girls

One of the main priorities of this Chair, and the reason why it has been named after the goddess Artemis, is to introduce the world of cybersecurity to women, especially young and teenage girls. According to the 2022 Women in Cybersecurity report, women hold 25% of jobs related to this sector worldwide, five points more than in 2019 but far from parity. In this regard, the director of the Chair, Vanesa Daza, a member of teaching staff and researcher at the Department of Information and Communication Technologies and Vice Rector for Knowledge Transfer at UPF, said that "the future's digital, and we can't allow women to be excluded from its protection. It's important to add their perspective and take their criteria and needs in the field of cybersecurity into account." The Chair will carry out awareness-raising activities with the literary character of a hacker girl as their common thread. The intention is for girls to identify themselves with a female character who has a great deal of knowledge of cybersecurity in order to attract their attention and empower them in this field. The Chair will also create workshops for children and young people in general, as well as accessible and educational content on cybersecurity for the public as a whole.

According to David Megías, director of the UOC's Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), the adoption of emerging technologies, such as machine learning, brings new challenges and opportunities. "Although machine learning can improve the detection of anomalous patterns and behaviours, it can also be used by attackers to develop more sophisticated and automated tactics. Cybersecurity must stay up to date to use technology effectively for both the detection and the prevention of threats," said the lead researcher of the K-ryptography and Information Security for Open Networks (KISON) group. He also emphasized the importance of sustainability, since "the growing amount of data, the need for computational resources and the increase in the energy consumed by cybersecurity systems require efficient solutions that minimize the economic and environmental impact of operations".

Helena Rifà, a researcher at the KISON group and member of the UOC's Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications, said that "cybersecurity faces the challenge of the constant evolution, sophistication and complexity of attacks in a situation in which there's a shortage of qualified professionals and difficulty in effectively disseminating the culture of digital security among the public".

The Chair will have a budget of €1.6 million over the next three years. Of this, 75% will be funded by INCIBE, while the remaining 25% will be provided by the UPF as coordinating university of the Chair and by the UOC. The two universities will also manage the budget provided by INCIBE, which will allocate EU Next Generation funds to the Chair. The UPF, in addition to receiving support from the UOC, will be able to count on the support of the Chair's other partners from the university and private sectors.


INCIBE and its invitation to create cybersecurity chairs

INCIBE is a state company attached to the Spanish Ministry of Digital Transformation through the Secretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence. Its mission is to reinforce cybersecurity, privacy and trust in information society services in order to provide value to the public, businesses, the administration and strategic sectors such as the ICT sector. At the end of 2022, it launched a public invitation for collaboration to support the creation of cybersecurity chairs. The UPF responded by presenting its candidacy to coordinate a cybersecurity chair, which finally led to its creation.

This initiative is carried out with funds from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan financed by the European Union (Next Generation), the Government of Spain's project that sets out the roadmap for the modernization of the Spanish economy, the recovery of economic growth and the creation of employment for sound, inclusive and resilient economic reconstruction after the COVID-19 crisis, and to meet the challenges of the next decade.


The ARTEMISA Cybersecurity Chair contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 4, Quality Education; 5, Gender Equality; and 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.



The UOC's research and innovation (R&I) is helping overcome pressing challenges faced by global societies in the 21st century by studying interactions between technology and human & social sciences with a specific focus on the network society, e-learning and e-health.

Over 500 researchers and more than 50 research groups work in the UOC's seven faculties, its eLearning Research programme and its two research centres: the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) and the eHealth Center (eHC).

The university also develops online learning innovations at its eLearning Innovation Center (eLinC), as well as UOC community entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer via the Hubbik platform.

Open knowledge and the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development serve as strategic pillars for the UOC's teaching, research and innovation. More information: research.uoc.edu.

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