Cyberbiosecurity Workforce Preparation

Education at the Convergence of Cybersecurity and Biosecurity




cyberbiosecurity, education programming, workforce development, stakeholders, collaboration


Cyberbiosecurity is an emerging field at the convergence of life sciences and the digital world. As technological advances improve operational processes and expose them to vulnerabilities in agriculture and life sciences, cyberbiosecurity has become increasingly important for addressing contemporary concerns. Unfortunately, at this time, educational opportunities for cyberbiosecurity workforce preparation are limited. Stakeholders’ perceptions may help guide cyberbiosecurity workforce preparation efforts and bridge the gap from the classroom to the field. Toward this end, we identified stakeholders in education, private industry, and state agencies in Virginia and sought their input through both an online survey and focus groups. Findings suggest limited awareness and understanding of cyberbiosecurity. Results indicate that both formal and non-formal learning components—including short modules and comprehensive standalone courses—are important for cyberbiosecurity education programming. Stakeholders tied potential success of education programming to systems thinking and collaborative designs. Moreover, results reveal insights into concerns at the convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), which is central to effective workforce preparation for today’s agriculture and life sciences professionals. Continuous interdisciplinary collaboration and academia-industry partnerships will be critical for developing robust cyberbiosecurity education and securing the future of agriculture.


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Author Biography

Eric K. Kaufman, Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education, Virginia Tech

Dr. Eric K. Kaufman is a Professor, Extension specialist, and associate head for Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education. He developed and now coordinates a graduate certificate program in Collaborative Community Leadership, as well as a leadership studies concentration for the online Master of Agricultural and Life Sciences degree program.  Eric’s research investigates and promotes leadership-as-practice, with special emphasis on problem solving and team development.  Kaufman is a past president of the Association of Leadership Educators (ALE) and a past president of the Virginia Tech Faculty Senate.  He is also a member of the Journal of Leadership Studies Editorial Advisory Board, and he is serving as an advisor to the American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE) National Research Agenda Committee.  His professional recognitions include the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Faculty Association’ Ut Prosim Excellence in Service Award, the ALE Distinguished Teaching Award, and the AAAE Distinguished Agricultural Leadership Educator Award.


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How to Cite

Adeoye, S., Lindberg, H., Bagby, B., Brown, A., Batarseh, F., & Kaufman, E. (2024). Cyberbiosecurity Workforce Preparation: Education at the Convergence of Cybersecurity and Biosecurity. NACTA Journal, 67(1).