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CYD Campus Distingushed Postdoctoral Fellowship

The first Cyber-Defence Campus (CYD) Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship was granted to Dr. Dimitri Percia David, a postdoctoral researcher at the Information Science Institute of the Geneva School of Economics and Management (UNIGE). His research will focus on technology forecasting and market monitoring for cyber-defence.

09.09.2020 | Department WTC4I, Alain Mermoud

Dr. Dimitri Percia David , the first recipient of the Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship, in an office
Dr. Dimitri Percia David, the first recipient of the Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship

In January 2019, the Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) gave green light establishing the CYD Campus while the responsibility lies with armasuisse Science and Technology (S+T).The goal of the CYD Campus is to anticipate and counter cyber-threats. One mean to tackle these goals and to promote research and education in cyber-defence is the «CYD Fellowships - A Talent Program for Cyber-Defence Research». This program was launched jointly by the EPFL and the CYD Campus.

The CYD Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding students by awarding Master Thesis as well as Doctoral and Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowships. These Fellowships focus on young talents that are motivated to contribute with their research to the field of cyber-defence. One condition in order to obtain a fellowship is that the fellows must be enrolled at a Swiss university. While conducting their research projects they collaborate closely with cyber experts from armasuisse S+T and work in one of the three university office spaces of the CYD Campus. In July 2020, the first three fellows were finally awarded. However, Dr. Dimitri Percia David is the first recipient of the Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship and works since August on technology forecasting and market monitoring within the CYD Campus at EPFL. A short interview with Dr. Dimitri Percia David.

Dr. Percia David, how does it feel to be the first postdoctoral fellow of the CYD Campus?

It is a great honor to be the first recipient of the CYD Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship. I am looking forward to collaborating with the experts within the CYD Campus and I hope that my research will contribute to the systematizing of our technology-forecasting capability by applying quantitative and network analyses into the field of cyber-defence technologies. Also, I hope that my approach will shed some light on dealing with the inherent uncertainty of investment in cyber-defence technologies.

What is your research background?

I hold a PhD in Information Systems from the University of Lausanne. The subject of my thesis is related to the required resources necessary for developing a cyber-defence capability for critical infrastructures – i.e., the ability to prevent, detect and respond to information systems’ failure of critical services of the society. My contributions are threefold: firstly, a model that helps to preempt the effect of disruptive technologies on the optimal level of investment in cyber-security, providing a framework in order to select and invest in the most effective technologies; secondly, a recruitment framework in order to attract scarce IT-specialists; thirdly, a model in order to foster tacit-knowledge absorption related to cyber-security. The thesis also presents policy recommendations and a research agenda for future work.

What will you do at the CYD Campus?

As a CYD Distinguished Postoctoral fellow, I will focus on technology forecasting and market monitoring for cyber-defence. By adopting an econophysics, i.e. an economical and physical approach, I aim to analyse collective intelligence networks and cascading processes in complex systems in order to investigate and model the production-capability networks, the innovation structures and dynamics underlying the hype cycle of cyber-defence technologies.

Why is technology forecasting relevant for cyber-defence?

From a business perspective, technology intelligence is an activity that enables organizations to monitor and forecast the technological opportunities and threats that could affect the future growth and survival of their business. As emphasized by the National strategy for the protection of Switzerland against cyber risks, an early identification of technological trends constitutes also an important aspect for developing the Swiss cyber-defence.

What will be your first contributions?

I am looking forward to applying methods and techniques from the finance and trading industry – where I worked for three years as a data analyst – coupled with data science techniques to improve our cyber-defence. The first results of my Fellowship will be disseminated to the general public on November third as part of a CYD Campus conference at the EPFL SwissTech Convention Centre.

Moreover, as program co-chair of the 16th International Conference on Critical Information Infrastructures Security, I am preparing a special three-day program at the EPFL SwissTech Convention Center on the topic: Technology forecasting, monitoring, foresight and scouting for information infrastructures protection.

 

The CYD Fellowship Program is open to students from any University in Switzerland. Students can apply twice per year.