By our experts

NCSC Research Agenda Review

What are the most important developments in cybersecurity research for the NCSC? That was the leading question when we created the NCSC Research Agenda. We aimed high and set topics for several years. Now that we have worked with this approach for a year, we decided to evaluate both the approach and the topics. Our multi-year Research Agenda provides a clear direction for our research activities, leading to interesting results on priority

The research cluster at the NCSC forms a bridge between cybersecurity research and practice. Researchers at the NCSC follow scientific developments and translate the implications to the daily practice. At the same time we look at our daily operation and try to find relevant research questions for academic research.

This blog contains a short summary of the NCSC Research Agenda, an evaluation of the priorities for 2020, and finally the new research priorities for 2021.

Summary NCSC Research agenda 2020-2023

As a reminder the NCSC Research Agenda features four themes:

  • Crisis Management; what are the most important developments on cybersecurity crisismanagement? What are the most important forms of (crisis)communication, or what are the necessary ingredients for resilience and recovery?
  • Risk Management: how to best prepare for a cybersecurity crisis? How can supply chains be mapped out, what is the best way to approach riskmanagement, and are specific topics of interest for water management in the Netherlands?
  • Strategic and Social Aspects of Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity has become a very broad field, where it is important to not just focus on technical developments. As an example questions around ethics and governance of cybersecurity, alternatives for "awareness trainings" and other forms of capacity building.
  • Technology and Cybersecurity: technology keeps changing, so what are the most relevant developments of cybersecurity technology and what other technical developments are relevant for cybersecurity?

For 2020, the NCSC determined several priority themes within the NCSC Research Agenda:

  • Resilience
  • Supply chain risk management
  • Protecting networks
  • Foundation of the Internet
  • Governance and certification

The NCSC used these priorities to define research projects with TNO and other organisations. The first results of these projects have already been
published.  An up to date overview of research results is always available on our research page.

The Research Agenda is leading in the prioritization of the research activities of the NCSC. Research institutes approach the NCSC for cooperation in larger projects, such as SOCCRATES or INTERSCT. The Research Agenda has enabled the NCSC to decide more strategically on these new
cooperation requests. We also see that researchers refer to the NCSC Research Agenda as a guiding document to demonstrate relevance for their
research. This way, the NCSC Research Agenda is indirectly influencing Dutch scientific research.

Priorities for 2021

As part of our evaluation we have looked at recent developments in cybersecurity and research. We have tracked updates of original sources in the NCSC Research Agenda and related publications. We have also taken stock of results from our current research projects. After an internal analysis, we have found that these developments align with existing topics in our agenda.

Based on this analysis, the NCSC's priorities for 2021 are:

  • Risk management, as it is an important and constantly developing topic in cybersecurity;
  • Ransomware, since these attacks have an increasingly larger impact;
  • Internet infrastructure, due to the increasing digitization of our society;
  • Data analysis and visualisation, where improvements are necessary to be better able to convey results;
  • Resilience in cybersecurity, as this needs more theoretical development.

We will use these priorities to plan for new research projects, in our ongoing collaboration with TNO, and also for our internal research projects.

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