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Announcing the first ever Ethicon!


On 13th & 14th May, Cyber Security Challenge UK and the University of Oxford will host the first ‘Ethicon’.

This exciting two-day workshop is a fun way to challenge students to think about ethical issues that lie at the heart of new technologies. Participating students will compete as teams to undertake a task in which they are required to devise a prototype technological device. In addition to designing the technical features of the device, the teams will be required to think through its potential ethical impacts - for instance in relation to personal security, privacy, surveillance, collation and self–incrimination. They will be required to embed possible solutions to these ethical issues into their design so that their end prototype is both functional and socially responsible.   

This event will take an unusual interdisciplinary approach to the challenges of cyber security, encouraging students from very different academic disciplines to work together. Each team will be made up of two technical undergraduates or postgraduates (from computer science or a related discipline), plus two non-technical team members from areas such as social sciences, philosophy, business, who have an interest in ethics.  

The teams will be assessed over the course of the two-day event and the winning team members will receive prizes and certificates. You do not have to be part of a team to enter: the organisers can construct teams for interested parties in advance.

The idea of the Ethicon was developed by Professor Marina Jirotka (Human Centred Computing, University of Oxford), who in recent years has worked extensively on projects that encourage responsibility in ICT research and innovation. Speaking about the aims of the Ethicon, Professor Jirotka said ‘It has long been recognised that computing technologies have social and ethical effects but few opportunities exist for computer scientists and engineers to work together with social scientists and others with expertise in ethics. The Ethicon is a fun way to bring these groups together to incorporate ethical and social reflection into system development, and to encourage the design of better, more responsible technologies.’

The cyber security sector is in need of individuals from all backgrounds to fulfil careers in the field. With a predicted 1.8m shortfall of cyber workers by 2022*, it is critical that future cyberists are recruited now. Cyber security roles expand further than technical and developer roles as many security issues stem from human behaviour and this event helps to showcase how social sciences can play a vital role in the cyber security industry.

‘Many people assume that cyber security roles are just for those with technical skills, but truthfully, the industry needs people that can provide a different perspective in order to understand the threats fully,’ said Debbie Tunstall, Head of Education Programmes, Cyber Security Challenge UK. ‘Working with the team at Oxford we are providing a unique opportunity for those who have an interest in cyber but are perhaps not from the traditional background to have a go and see what a career in the industry could look like for them.’

Accommodation and travel bursaries are available, but preference will be given to those within a 30-mile radius.

The deadline for registrations is Friday 5th May.

For an application form or more information please email:

For interview requests and any other press enquiries please contact:


Cyber Security Challenge UK:

With the backing of founding sponsors like the SANS Institute, the Challenge started out in 2010 to create a series of virtual and face-to-face competitions that would identify talented people for the cyber security industry. Now in its 7th year, the Challenge is backed by over 50 of the UK’s most prestigious public, private and academic organisations, and hosts a wide programme of activities designed to spread the word about why cyber security is such a fulfilling and varied career and help talented people get their first cyber security jobs. Working from school level right through to helping career changers making the transition across, the Challenge is making a notable difference to the career prospects of those with the talents and aptitude to become cyber security professionals.


Cyber Security at the University of Oxford

Cyber Security Oxford brings together the dynamic and vibrant community of researchers and experts working on cyber security at the University of Oxford. The network links the wide variety of research and education activities across the University, and provides an easy point of contact for engagement.