Since 2016, doctoral students at the Ruhr-University Bochum have been researching security in cyberspace at the "SecHuman" research college. The NRW Ministry of Culture and Science has extended the funding for 2020 for another 3.5 years. The Bochum-based research college will receive around 2.2 million euros in the second funding phase. In the college, doctoral students not only work together with researchers from other disciplines, but also with actors from practice.
The SecHuman Research College, short for "Schöne neue Welt: Sicherheit für Menschen im Cyberspace", is located at the Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security and is also integrated into the Cluster of Excellence CASA - Cyber Security in the Age of Large-scale Adversaries. In the first funding period, the interaction between people and IT security was the main topic. In the second phase, twelve new doctoral students will investigate IT security as a broader social phenomenon in an inter- and transdisciplinary way.
Doctorate in tandem
All PhD students from the technical disciplines work with a tandem partner from the humanities and social sciences. "The tandem doctoral program has proven to be an excellent structure for a truly lived interdisciplinary work and has established itself as a blueprint for data security research," says Prof. Dr. Christof Paar, spokesperson of the college in the first funding phase, now deputy spokesperson. The concept was also adopted in the NRW Graduate College "North Rhine-Westphalian Experts on Research in Digitalization". In the report "Foundational Cyber-Security Research - Improving Science, Engineering and Institutions" by the US National Academies, the SecHuman PhD model is cited as groundbreaking for the urgently needed expansion of interdisciplinary security research.
Besides the Ruhr-University Bochum, the Technical University Dortmund and the University of Applied Sciences Dortmund are involved in SecHuman. Many PhD projects are also being carried out in cooperation with partners from the field, most recently for example with the Federal Criminal Police Office, Axa Insurance and Eco, the Association of the Internet Industry.
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