International honour for cybersecurity expert

Wednesday, 18 October 2017


A renowned cybersecurity authority from the University of Newcastle (UON) has received the 2017 Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman award, which recognises the outstanding achievements of people from Indian origin who have made a significant contribution outside of their home country.

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Professor Vijay Varadharajan joined UON in March this year as Global Innovation Chair in Cybersecurity, building on a distinguished career that has helped inform the security technologies of organisations across Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Professor Varadharajan has spent the past 20 years sharing his expertise in Australia and is currently working to position the University of Newcastle at the forefront of cybersecurity, through research, education and external engagement.

“I am honoured and deeply humbled to receive this award. I have always wanted to contribute to India in some small way, having moved overseas at an early age,” Professor Varadharajan said.

Professor Varadharajan has maintained strong connections with India throughout his career, supervising and graduating several students of Indian origin as well as holding visiting positions at various Indian institutions and also becoming a member of the Cyber Security Task Force established upon the recommendation from the Prime Minister of India in 2015.

Of the 20 million or so Non-Resident Indians (NRI) dispersed across the world, the award is presented by the NRI Society to approximately 30 people each year who have made India shine.

“I could not believe it when I heard I had received this award, especially as it is associated with the great leader Mahatma Ghandiji as my father was an active member of the Mahatma Gandhi’s Indian Independence Movement.

“Cybersecurity is important in all walks of our everyday lives and I am proud to be providing leadership in this area for the University of Newcastle that has national and international impact,” he said.