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AIT Austrian Institute of Technology Becomes the First IAEA Collaborating Centre for Information and Computer Security for Nuclear Security


Left to right: Anton Plimon, AIT Managing Director with Lydie Evrard, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security and Helmut Leopold, Head of AIT Center for Digital Safety and Security at the signing ceremony (Credit: J.Zinner/AIT)

The Austrian Institute of Technology has become the first IAEA collaborating centre for Information and Computer Security for Nuclear Security. The agreement signed last week builds on a long-term partnership between the IAEA and the AIT, which is Austria’s largest non-university research and technology organization.   

The establishment of a collaborating centre in the area of computer security is of strategic importance for the implementation of the IAEA nuclear security programme. “The Agency’s work in promoting and strengthening computer security in the nuclear sector will be significantly supported by the agreement with the AIT,” said Lydie Evrard, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, at the signing ceremony of the agreement held at the AIT facilities in Vienna.

“AIT’s expertise and state-of-the-art facilities will support high-quality training courses and computer security demonstration sessions that can have a significant impact in capacity building, as well as in research and development activities,” she added.

The signed agreement is valid until 2026 and includes eight activities related to capacity building, contributions to the upcoming 2023 IAEA International Conference on Computer Security in the Nuclear World, and research and development in this specialised field. Specifically, under the scope of the agreed work plan, the AIT will provide support for international and regional training courses and exercises in the area of computer security for nuclear facilities and activities, develop technical demonstration modules for enhancing awareness about cyber threats and contribute to the development of training materials for the new Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre at Seibersdorf.

Helmut Leopold, Head of AIT Center for Digital Safety & Security pointed out that the designation as an IAEA Collaborating Centre is a great distinction and unique selling point for the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, and underscored that: “We are thus making a concrete contribution to qualification and competence transfer in the field of cyber security.” Anton Plimon, AIT Managing Director, in his remarks, wished to continue strengthening the relationship with the IAEA and expanding the collaboration.

The signing ceremony included a visit at the AIT Center for Digital Safety & Security, which is focal point for the collaboration with the IAEA. The AIT has several world-class laboratory facilities; one of them is the AIT Cyber Range, which offers the infrastructure for virtualized training and exercises in computer security.

Visit at the AIT Cyber Range where IAEA training courses in computer security are hosted (Credit: J.Zinner/AIT)

A lasting collaboration

The AIT conducts highly-specialized research and it is a development partner for industry. Its research in the area of computer technology and security addresses safety and security of critical infrastructures.

Since 2016, the IAEA and the AIT have collaborated in the area of computer security, delivering tangible results, including several high-quality training courses and computer security demonstration sessions, as well as the AIT participation in a major IAEA coordinated research project, which focused on enhancing computer security incident analysis at nuclear facilities.

About Collaborating Centres

An IAEA Collaborating Centre is an IAEA Member State institution, department or laboratory, which focuses on research, development and training and which has been designated by the IAEA to support the IAEA’s programmatic activities by implementing an agreed work plan. The designation of such a Centre is done through an IAEA Collaborating Centre Agreement. This Agreement is a legally binding document signed by both parties, which contains the undertakings of the parties and the duration of designation as well as the objectives, activities and expected results and outcomes.

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