Mastercard will sponsor the University of New Brunswick’s Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity, or CIC, to the tune of $1.75 million, with the money going towards establishing a security research chair and funding scholarships.

The CIC’s new Mastercard IoC Chair is Rongxing Lu, an associate professor of computer science who started at UNB in 2016 and holds two PhDs, one from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China and one from the University of Waterloo. He is also a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which sets international computer networking standards. There, he chairs the committee on information security and co-chairs the committee on blockchain.

Mastercard said in a press release from UNB that the increasing digital connectivity of everyday devices like lightbulbs and electrical grid controls is creating new avenues for cyberattacks — a major threat to financial services companies.

“The pandemic era has advanced the shift to digital and as a result, attacks continue to grow in sophistication,” said Mastercard Canada President Sasha Krstic in the release. “As these trends accelerate, creating a safe and secure environment that users trust is essential.

“Part of our commitment at Mastercard to advancing innovation in the cybersecurity space means sharing expertise through partnerships, like UNB, defining standards and specifications and playing a leading role in securing the landscape.”