Scientific Operational and Advisory Committee

The Scientific Operational and Advisory Committee is composed of a scientific director from each of our five founding universities. The committee is responsible for developing recommendations for policies and activities related to all NCC scientific initiatives. The committee maintains an active and continuous liaison with the members of the NCC’s scientific networks and actively assists the Scientific Director with planning and executing scientific outreach activities such as annual conferences, workshops, webinars, and awareness programs. It provides advice, as necessary, to the Scientific Director on scientific matters, including the project review process and the selection of the project review committee members.

For more details on the committee’s mandate, please see its terms of reference.


Photo of doctor Ali Ghorbani

Dr. Ali Ghorbani 
Director, Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity
University of New Brunswick  

Dr. Ghorbani has held various academic positions for the past 41 years. He is a Professor of Computer Science, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity, Scientific Director of the National Cybersecurity Consortium, and founding director of the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity he established in 2016. In addition, he served as the Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science at the University of New Brunswick from 2008 to 2017. He has spent over 25 years of his 41-year academic career conducting fundamental and applied research in machine learning, cybersecurity, and Critical Infrastructure Protection.

Dr. Ghorbani is the co-inventor of four awarded, and one filed a patent in Cybersecurity and Web Intelligence. He has published over three hundred peer-reviewed articles during his career. In addition, he has supervised over 250 research associates, postdoctoral fellows, and students. His book, “Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems: Concepts and Techniques,” was published by Springer in October 2010. Dr. Ghorbani developed several technologies adopted by high-tech companies and co-founded three startups, Sentrant Security, EyesOver Technologies, and Cydarien Security, in 2013, 2015, and 2019. Dr. Ghorbani’s role in the success of Q1 Labs Inc. and its QRadar technology has been featured in the book Unicorn in the Woods by Cordon Pitts (2020).

Dr. Ghorbani co-founded the UNB-NRC Cybersecurity Collaboration Consortium and the National Cybersecurity Consortium (NCC) in 2019 and 2020, respectively. In addition, he co-founded the Privacy, Security, Trust (PST) Network in Canada and its annual international conference. Dr. Ghorbani served as the co-Editor-in-Chief of “Computational Intelligence: An International Journal” from 2007 to 2017. He is a past vice-president of the Canadian Association of Computer Science (CACS/AIC), served as a CIPS Professional Standards Advisory Council (PSAC) member, and was on NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) Committee on Safety and Security. Currently, he is a member of Statistics Canada’s Advisory Council on Ethics and Modernization of Microdata Access and an associate member of the Digital Technology Supercluster.

Dr. Ghorbani is the recipient of the 2017 Startup Canada Senior Entrepreneur Award and Canadian Immigrant Magazine’s RBC top 25 Canadian immigrants of 2019. In addition, he was named one of the 40 inspiring Canadians in the book Forty Brilliant Canadians and their Vision for the Nation by Mark Bulgutch (2022).

Photo of Charles Finlay

Charles Finlay
Founding Executive Director, Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst
Toronto Metropolitan University

Charles founded the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst in 2018 with a vision to build Canada’s leading hub for cybersecurity innovation and collaboration. Charles oversees all aspects of the Catalyst’s program delivery and strategic growth. Charles has been instrumental in developing nationally unique programming in cybersecurity training, commercialization, public education and policy development.

Prior to founding the Catalyst, Charles served as chief of staff and director of policy to the Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Growth. In this role, Charles worked closely with private sector and government leaders to develop and implement the province’s strategy to make Ontario a global leader in technology innovation and commercialization.

Before joining government, Charles practiced law at BMO Capital Markets and Torys LLP, conducted research at Forrester Research, and was a freelance business journalist for The Globe and Mail and Canadian Business Magazine.

Charles holds a BA (Honours) from Queen’s University, an M.A with distinction from University College London, and an LL.B. from Dalhousie University.

Photo of doctor Mourad Debbabi

Dr. Mourad Debbabi
Director, Security Research Centre
Concordia University

Mourad Debbabi is a Professor at the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering and the Dean of the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, Concordia University. He held/holds the NSERC/Hydro-Quebec Thales Senior Industrial Research Chair in Smart Grid Security and the Hon. Concordia Research Chair Tier I in Information Systems Security. He is a founding member and Director at the National Cybersecurity Consortium that leads the CyberSecurity Innovation Network (CSIN) program.He serves on the expert committee of the Ministry of Cybersecurity and Digital Technology of the Quebec Government. He serves/served on the boards of the Canadian Police College, PROMPT Québec, Cybereco, and Calcul Québec. He served as a member of CATAAlliance’s Cybercrime Advisory Council. He is the founder and the Director of the Security Research Centre of Concordia University.

Dr. Debbabi holds Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees in computer science from Paris-XI Orsay, University, France, and B.Eng. from Université de Constantine. He published seven books and more than 300 peer-reviewed research articles in international journals and conferences on cybersecurity, cyber forensics, smart grid security, privacy, cryptographic protocols, cyber threat intelligence, malware analysis, reverse engineering, specification, and verification of safety-critical systems, programming languages, and type theory. He supervised to successful completion 34 Ph.D. students, 76 Master students, and 15 Postdoctoral Fellows. He served as a Senior Scientist at the Panasonic Information and Network Technologies Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey, USA; Associate Professor at the Computer Science Department of Laval University, Canada; Senior Scientist at General Electric Research Centre, New York, USA; Research Associate at the Computer Science Department of Stanford University,

Photo of doctor. N. Asokan

Dr. N. Asokan
Executive Director, Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute
University of Waterloo 

Asokan is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo (since 2019) where he holds a David R. Cheriton Chair and serves as the Executive Director of the Waterloo Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute. He is also an adjunct professor at Aalto University where he was the founding director of the Helsinki-Aalto Institute for Cybersecurity.

He was a Professor of Computer Science at Aalto University from 2013 to 2019 and at the University of Helsinki from 2012 to 2017. Between 1995 and 2012, he worked in industrial research laboratories designing and building secure systems, first at the IBM Zurich Research
Laboratory as a Research Staff Member and then at Nokia Research Center, most recently as Distinguished Researcher.

Asokan’s primary research theme is systems security broadly, including topics like the development and use of novel platform security features, applying cryptographic techniques to design secure protocols for distributed systems, applying machine learning techniques to security/privacy problems, and understanding/addressing the security and privacy of machine learning applications themselves.

Asokan received his doctorate in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, MS in Computer and Information Science from Syracuse University, and BTech (Hons.) in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur. He is an ACM Fellow and an IEEE Fellow.

Photo of doctor Ken Barker

Dr. Ken Barker
Director, Institute for Security, Privacy and Information Assurance
University of Calgary

Ken Barker Ph.D., FCIPS, I.S.P., ITCP is a professor of computer science at the University of Calgary. He holds a PhD in computing science from the University of Alberta (1990) and has many years of experience working with industrial computer systems. He has interest in system integration, distributed systems, database systems, and the privacy and security of data repositories. He has served as the dean of the faculty of science and as head of computer science at the University of Calgary. He is the director of the University of Calgary’s Institute for Security, Privacy and Information Assurance and the president of the Alberta body of the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS Alberta). He is one of the founding directors of the National Cybersecurity Consortium (NCC). He is a Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, a Fellow of the Canadian Information Processing Society, a Senior Member of the IEEE, and a Life-time Member of the ACM. He is the President of CIPS Alberta and is a past president of the Canadian Association of Computer Science (CACS/AIC) in addition to having served on the Computer Science Accreditation Council.  As the director of research laboratories at the University of Calgary and University of Manitoba he has supervised over 70 graduate students, in addition to several post-doctorates and research assistants. Dr. Barker has published over 250 peer-reviewed publications.