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Concordia appoints Mourad Debbabi as dean of the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science

The cybersecurity expert will make the transition from his interim position to a new 5-year term
May 20, 2021
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Mourad Debbabi: “Our applications, external research funding, partnerships and rankings continue to rise in a positive feedback loop I’m extremely proud of.”

Concordia’s Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science will soon have a new dean — a very familiar and popular one. Mourad Debbabi, an expert in cybersecurity, cyberforensics and critical infrastructure protection and an experienced educator and administrator, will begin his five-year term on June 1. He has been serving as the school’s interim dean since May 2020.

“Our extensive international search to fill this position made clear just how enviable a candidate we had right here at Concordia,” says Anne Whitelaw, interim provost and vice-president, academic.

“The search committee was unanimous. With Mourad’s impressive research output, his strong connections to industry, his leadership in cybersecurity and his commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization, he has the experience and vision to take the highly regarded Gina Cody School to the next level.”

Whitelaw went on to acknowledge Debbabi’s strong recent performance as interim dean and as associate dean of research and graduate studies before that.

“This proves that Mourad can develop and implement the school’s strategic direction and be a passionate representative of Concordia to the external community.”

‘I'm excited and grateful to lead the faculty I’ve called home for nearly two decades’

A full professor since coming to Concordia in 2003, Debbabi has held a number of research chairs. He is currently the NSERC/Hydro-Québec Thales Senior Industrial Research Chair in Smart Grid Security and Honorary Tier 1 Concordia University Research Chair in Information Systems Security.

Debbabi has published more than 130 journal articles and book chapters, seven books and more than 200 peer-reviewed conference articles. He has also received over $7.5 million in external funding as principal investigator.

“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to lead the faculty I’ve called home for nearly two decades,” Debbabi says.

“The Gina Cody School enjoys a strong and growing reputation thanks to its outstanding researchers, its commitment to teaching and innovative programs, its championing of equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization among its highly international student body and faculty, and its place within a highly ranked university that shares these qualities. Our applications, external research funding, partnerships and rankings all continue to rise year after year in a positive feedback loop I’m extremely proud to be part of.”

Debbabi earned his PhD in Computer Science from Université Paris XI Orsay in 1994, following an MSc in Computer Science from the same institution in 1990 and a State Engineer Degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Université de Constantine in his native Algeria in 1989.

Before coming to Concordia, Debbabi was an associate professor at Université Laval and a research associate at Stanford University in California, and held the position of senior scientist at both General Electric and Panasonic Research.

Debbabi first joined Concordia as professor, then director of the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering, holding this position from 2008 until 2013. He served as the university’s associate dean of research and graduate studies from 2015 to 2020 before stepping in as interim dean of the Gina Cody School last May. Debbabi has supervised 33 PhD students, 74 master’s students and 13 postdoctoral fellows.

He also has strong connections with industry as a researcher, consultant and more recently as a member of the boards of Cybereco, Prompt Québec and the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance of Canada, for which he has served as president since 2008.

Search committee

As chair of the search committee, Whitelaw extends her deep appreciation to the committee members: Otmane Ait Mohamed, Md Foysal Ahmed, Zineb Bencheikh, Rana Ghorayeb, Osama Moselhi, Muthukumaran Packirisamy, Alexander Stojda, Stuart Thiel and Radu Zmeureanu. Their variety of views and collegial attitude for the international search facilitated Debbabi’s undisputed selection to lead Concordia’s Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science.


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