The latest academic IT security facility opened today with the unveiling of the University of New Brunswick’s Canadian Institute for Cyber Security.

A hub for research, training and industry collaboration, the department has more than $4.5 million in government funding and a research partnership with IBM.

“The Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity is a culmination of more than 15 years of successful innovation and research in cybersecurity at the University of New Brunswick,” Dr. Eddy Campbell, UNB president and vice-chancellor, said in a statement. “The creation of the institute allows us to forge an even more crucial role in developing security measures necessary to protect modern critical infrastructure in Canada and beyond.”

The funding includes $2.27 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Innovative Communities Fund — a federal agency — and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, nearly $2 million from the province and $330,000 from the university.

“The need for more cybersecurity support and services around the world is a huge opportunity to create jobs here in our province,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “New Brunswick is already a world leader in cybersecurity. Enhancing training and research opportunities through this institute is another step in seizing this significant economic opportunity.”

“As this generation moves quickly to adopt the most modern of digital applications such as next generation and mobile technologies, cybersecurity is an important strategic sector, representing huge opportunities and potential for economic growth that will benefit this region for years to come,” Federicton MP Matt DeCourcey said.

The institute is part of premier Gallant’s economic development strategy on cybersecurity and cyber innovation called CyberNB. which was announced last May.

Dr. Ali Ghorbani, Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity at the UNB and dean of the faculty of computer science, is the institute’s director. “The Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity is poised to alter the cyberwarfare landscape by propelling research, training and collaboration with governments and industry to new levels,” said Dr. Ghorbani.

IBM, which has a research and development and customer support centre in Fredericton in part related to its 2011 acquisition of Q1 Labs and its QRadar security intelligence, is the institute’s first research and development partner. In that role it will help fund  cybersecurity resources, offer technical and management resources and provide project oversight and mentorship for students.

Last December IBM said UNB was among the organizations participating in its Watson for cyber security beta program, which sees the Watson machine learning platform used to help security analysts wade through log and other data. IBM says Watson can help identify and put context around suspicious network behavior.

UNB, the University of Ottawa and the University of Waterloo have been working with IBM to teach Watson the nuances of security research findings and how to discover patterns and evidence of hidden cyber attacks and threats.