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La Trobe appoints first 'cyber prof'

La Trobe University has appointed Jill Slay as the first holder of the Optus Cyber Chair.

"Under the leadership of Professor Slay, La Trobe will deliver high-impact research that provides tangible and holistic solutions to critical cyber-related issues for governments, industry and the community. Employers are crying out for a workforce with the expertise to combat a growing cyber threat and Professor Slay will also be instrumental in developing new, innovative teaching programs in conjunction with industry," said vice-chancellor Professor John Dewar.

Part of Professor Slay's role will be to establish a virtual facility to conduct research and develop solutions to real-world cyber security problems.

"Our partnership with La Trobe University demonstrates the importance of industry and academia collaboration in addressing the growing pervasive threat of cyber crime," said Optus Business managing director John Paitaridis.

"The appointment of an expert of Professor Slay's calibre is an endorsement of the work we are doing together to build Australia's cyber security and digital capability through skill development, innovative research and thought leadership."

Optus is also contributing $75,000 to La Trobe cyber security scholarships for 2018, including three $10,000 scholarships for the Master of Cyber Security course.

Professor Slay joined La Trobe from the University of New South Wales, where she was director of the Australian Centre for Cyber Security.

She was previously professor of forensic computing at the University of South Australia.

Professor Slay holds a PhD from Curtin University of Technology, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2011 for her service to the Information Technology industry.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.