BRICKS Cybersecurity Program Connects Students, Businesses in Canada


A unique program at the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity (CIC) at the University of New Brunswick is responding to the looming shortfall of cybersecurity talent in New Brunswick and beyond by connecting highly skilled students with companies operating in Atlantic Canada.

The Bell Research Intensive Cyber Knowledge Studies (BRICKS) program provides students with a Masters of Applied Cybersecurity, scholarship funding, a four-month research internship and, ultimately, a full-time job offer.


“Growing the talent pool is a key component of Atlantic Canada becoming a cybersecurity hub,” said Cathy Simpson, CEO of TechImpact. “TechImpact is thrilled to be partnering on this exciting pilot project that supports students and industry alike with a focus on developing our much-needed talent pipeline.”

“Cybersecurity is an area of huge economic potential,” said René Arseneault, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages. “That’s why we’re committed to supporting the development of cybersecurity solutions, education, and infrastructure, through programs like this one. By working closely with provincial partners, industry, and learning institutions, we can help build a strong, agile cybersecurity sector here in Atlantic Canada and across the country.”

In August of 2019, the Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency announced $997,000 over three years to support the program through curriculum development, industry-specific training, experiential learning opportunities and program management.

Bell is BRICKS’s corporate partner, committing $1.2 million over three years. This initial investment will offer scholarship opportunities and specialized training and research projects for graduate students in the cybersecurity program. Upon graduation, these students will be offered full-time employment in Bell’s security and IT lines of business.

“As Canada’s largest communications company and provider of the country’s most advanced broadband communications networks, Bell is a leader in the research and development of security and IT technology,” said Glen LeBlanc, Bell’s Vice Chair Atlantic. “We look forward to working with our partners at UNB to support the next generation of Canadian cybersecurity talent and welcoming them to the Bell team.”

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field, with 3.5 million unfilled positions projected globally in 2021. New Brunswick is emerging as a national leader in cybersecurity with a strong cluster of partners in business, academia, government and business.

“Canadians must feel confident that their online information is held securely and that their privacy is protected,” said Dr. Ali Ghorbani, Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity, University of New Brunswick and Founding Director at the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity. “Cybersecurity is an issue that concerns us all, and the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity is working diligently to provide the next generation of leaders in this important sector, something that will be made easier through the partnership with industry that we are seeing in the BRICKS program.”