Chevening Western Balkans Cyber Security 2021 Fellows during a visit to the Cranfield campus in Bedfordshire

Cranfield University has delivered the Chevening Cyber Security Fellowship programme to participants from across the Western Balkans region at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom in Shrivenham.


Founded in 1983, Chevening Scholarships and Fellowships are the UK Government’s flagship global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.


The 10-week programme provides mid-career professionals with an understanding of policy and legislative approaches in cyber security and implications for national security, commercial opportunity, crime prevention, and the right to privacy.


Eleven experienced cyber specialists from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia joined this year’s programme and produced reports on topics ranging from cyber security around Bitcoin and digital banking to threats facing smart electricity grids and the removal of illegal content for a safer internet.


Dr Venkat Sastry, Head of the Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computing at Cranfield Defence and Security and Programme Director for the delivery of the Chevening programmes at Cranfield said: “With increasing reliance on digital communication for business and social activities, nation states have to develop appropriate policies to protect their citizens and digital assets which take account of our interdependence with each other.


“Activities in cyberspace have a direct impact on the social and economic prosperity of a nation. The Chevening Cyber Programme is specifically designed to address these issues and educate future leaders who can inform government policy.”


Speaking to Fellows during their final presentations, Wendy Morton MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, said: "Cyber security is a challenge that we all share and it makes sense that governments work together to defeat it. By strengthening cyber resilience in your countries through this Fellowship you also act as a buttress in support of stability, democracy and prosperity."


Cranfield University has been delivering the Chevening India Cyber Security Fellowship programme each year since 2014, delivered as the Chevening-TCS Cyber Security Fellowship for the first three years. In 2018 the FCDO gave Cranfield the contract to deliver the same programme for the Western Balkans and the University has recently won the re-tender to deliver both programmes for a further three (plus two optional) years.


Adel Abusara, Manager for Cybersecurity Policies at PwC Serbia and one of the first cohort of Chevening Western Balkans Cyber Security Fellows said: “The Fellowship had a multi-dimensional impact on our careers – it helped us to fill gaps we had in the technical or policy/governance aspects of cybersecurity, and exposed us to latest developments in the field and the UK's approach to them. Equally important, we connected better among ourselves in the region and created long-lasting relationships as business contacts and personal friendships.”