Speaking to students is a common thing for Mart Noorma, Director of the NATO Joint Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE), who visited Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute on February 8. After all, he is a professor and former vice-rector for academic affairs at the University of Tartu, worked at the Helsinki University of Technology (where, by the way, he received his doctorate in technology). Prior to heading the Joint Center, he was involved in NATO and EU projects, was a member of the NATO Advisory Group on Emerging and Disruptive Technologies, the European External Action Service's Space Advisory Board, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Advisory Expert Committee on Autonomous Weapons Systems, and other bodies of reputable international organizations.

That is why the lecture "Startups in the field of security and defense and their impact on the industry", which Mart Noorma gave to the students of the Institute of FTI and ISZZI during a meeting with Kyiv Polytechnics, was both interesting in content and professionally organized in form. And although the time for it was quite limited, he managed not only to talk about the problems identified in its title, but also to cover a wider range of issues. In fact, Professor Noorma began by talking about the role of cybersecurity in modern warfare and the strategy for building cyber defense in NATO's activities. And how could it be otherwise, if many of the listeners learned about the existence of the CCDCOE and the purpose of its activities and functions during this meeting. By the way, according to the guest, this organization, which provides for the accumulation, study and training in the field of NATO's joint cyber defense, has the largest number of members compared to other NATO bodies - 39. These are not only NATO member states, but also partner states. In May 2023, Ukraine was officially included in the NATO Joint Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE) as the latest member. 

Thus, the CCDCOE is one of NATO's centers of excellence that provides collective countermeasures against cyber attacks and cyber defense of information systems, as well as education and training of cyber defense specialists. Based in Tallinn since 2008, it is responsible for defining and coordinating cyber defense education and training solutions for all NATO bodies. According to Dr. Noorma, the Center's activities cover the main areas of cyber defense technology, strategy, operations and law, in which its staff conducts research, training and education at the strategic and operational levels, technical workshops, hackathons and seminars on cyber security law, etc. 

Of course, he also cited examples of implemented innovative startups in the security and defense sector. In particular, he spoke about the Estonian nanosatellite ESTCube, developed at the University of Tartu, which became the first spacecraft to use an electric sail. Its payload was a powerful camera for taking photos of the Earth's surface from orbit. The audience was also extremely interested in the presentation of another startup project - a ground-based robotic transporter used by the military to perform a number of tasks, and others. 

During the lecture and during the conversation with the audience, Mart Noorma expressed support for Ukraine's fight against the Russian invasion and emphasized the need to combine scientific potential with the leading technologies that the Alliance possesses and develops for a common victory. After all, he emphasized, we are strong when we are together. 

"I regret that the time for the lecture was limited, as well as the number of seats in the hall (the meeting was held in the hall of the University's Administrative Council - ed.), because the things that Professor Noorma, Head of the NATO Cyber Defense Center of Excellence, talked about would be useful not only for students and cybersecurity specialists, but also for representatives of other industries. After all, interesting examples of the use of robotics, mechatronics, space technology, etc. were given. That is, students of the lion's share of KPI specialties could take away something interesting and useful from what they heard," shared his impressions of the lecture Professor Oleksiy Novikov, Director of the NSTI. "I must say that almost all KPI teams, understanding the situation in which we are, are striving to make their own contribution, including technological, to the cause of bringing the Victory closer. That is, our employees are also actively working in the area of security and defense, so what we heard today coincided with what we are particularly interested in." 

Oleksiy Novikov also noted that meetings and constant contacts with Western partners are very useful for Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and other Ukrainian universities in terms of ensuring that future cybersecurity specialists are trained at the modern level. In this context, he recalled the USAID project "Cybersecurity of Ukraine's Critical Infrastructure", under which students of the 125th specialty "Cybersecurity and Information Protection", who are studying this specialty at Ukrainian universities, have been given hundreds of electronic keys for training over the past two years with the right to use the most modern training complexes, training grounds, etc. where they can improve their skills in almost real combat conditions. 

By the way, the cooperation of Ukrainian scientists and educators, and Kyiv Polytechnics in particular, with foreign colleagues and within NATO programs has also recently intensified significantly. This is eloquently evidenced by the figures of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute's participation in the projects of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Program: during 2015-2023, university scientists participated in the implementation of eleven such projects. And they are very relevant. For example, in 2017, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute won a grant under the cybersecurity project SPS G5286 "Cyber Rapid Analysis for Defense Awareness of Real-time Situation - (CyRADARS)". And this year, with the participation of representatives of Kyiv Polytechnic, the SPS G5286 project "Increasing the Capacity of Local Communities to Counteract Crisis Situations - (Q-Built)" was launched.

As mentioned above, NATO's Joint Cyber Defense Center of Excellence is located in Estonia. This country is a recognized world leader in the implementation of advanced digital technologies in all areas of public life and public administration. So, thanking Mart Noorma for his interesting lecture, KPI Rector Mykhailo Zgurovsky noted that the university is extremely interested in establishing closer contacts with Estonian research centers and universities and launching joint digital projects, so he hopes for his assistance in this, and also passed on several specific proposals for possible areas of such cooperation.

Finally, it is worth noting that the visit of the CCDCOE Director to Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute took place within the framework of his participation in the two-day Kyiv International Cybersecurity Forum 2024 "Resilience in Cyberwar", organized by the National Center for Cybersecurity at the National Security and Defense Council and the US Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF Global) with the assistance of the US State Department. In his speech at the forum, Dr. Noorma said, among other things, that NATO already cooperates with Ukraine on a daily basis: a constant exchange of information has been established, and there is real cooperation in cyber missions. Because together we are really getting stronger. 

Dmytro Stefanovych

Mart Noorma, Director of the NATO Joint Center of Excellence for Cyber Defense, visited Kyiv Polytechnic Institute to give a lecture. He expressed his support for Ukraine and emphasized the importance of combining the scientific potential of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute with the Alliance's leading technologies for a common victory.

KPI students are planning new projects in the field of defense and security together with NATO.

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