Team Argonauts from ETH Zürich Wins the 7th European Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge

Geopolitics and Global Futures Symposium 2021

Team Argonauts from ETH Zürich Wins the 7th European Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge

​​​Team Argonauts from ETH Zürich is the winner of the 2021 “Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge” 

Team "Argonauts" from ETH Zürich are the winners of the 2021 “Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge” co-organised by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and the Atlantic Council

This two-day virtual event ran from 11th-12th May 2021. The competition welcomed 24 teams, consisting of four students each. Our competitors were from a diverse range of countries varying from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and for the first time, we were pleased to welcome a team from Chile. 


Finalists included: 


In its seventh year, the competition invited university students to tackle a simulated cyber incident in real time. This year, the challenge’s scenario was based on a cyber incident affecting pan-European healthcare infrastructure. Teams were required to respond to ever-changing situations and offer strategic policy recommendations, from a European point of view, to heads of state, government leaders, senior officials and representatives from the private sector. Escalating cyber activities, infrastructure failures and tensions between States kept teams on their toes for two full days.  


Other awards included: 

  • Most Creative Response: Team UPS I Did It Again, National University of Public Service, Hungary  
  • Best Teamwork Award: Team Hoya Haxa, Georgetown University, USA 
  • Best Oral Presentation: Team Nimbus, Erasmus Mundus International Master's Intelligence, Security and Strategic Studies, UK 
  • Best Decision Document: Team IHEID & Seek, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland 


The judges featured prominent personalities in the field of cyber security and included:  

  1. Mr Mirza Ulugbek Abdullaev, Politico-Military Dimension / National Project Officer, OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan  
  2. Mr Arnold Abraham, Principal Attorney, The CyberLaw Group  
  3. Ms Audrey Adams, Cross-Cutting Priority Director, MITRE 
  4. Mr Robin Andreasson, Senior Cyber Security Consultant, KPMG Sweden 
  5. Dr Christopher Ankersen, Clinical Associate Professor, NYU Center for Global Affairs  
  6. Ms Clare El Azebbi, Head of Cyber Resilience Unit, Scottish Government  
  7. Ms Sarah Backman, Cyber Security Consultant /PhD-student, Secana/Stockholm University  
  8. Dr Myriam Dunn Cavelty, Senior Lecturer and Deputy for Research and Teaching, ETH Centre for Security Studies 
  9. Dr Rafik Chaabouni, Cyber Security Architect, Swiss Armed Forces  
  10. Mr Dimitri Chichlo, Founder and President, AndSecure  
  11. Mr Serge Droz, Chair, FIRST (Forum for Incident Response and Security Teams)  
  12. Ms Safa Shahwan Edwards, Deputy Director, Cyber Statecraft Initiative, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council  
  13. Ms Kristin Esbeck. Cyber Threat Intelligence Capability Area Lead, MITRE  
  14. Mr Simone Fortin Head of Cyber Security, MSC Cruises and Executive-in-Residence GCSP Global Fellowship Initiative  
  15. Dr Luca Gambazzi, Senior Scientific Project Manager, Cyber Defence Campus  
  16. Mr Henri Haenni, CEO, Abilene Advisors  
  17. Mr Marc Henauer, Head of Unit, National Cyber Security Center NCSC CH  
  18. Mr Alexis Hirschhorn, Partner, CISO and Senior Security Advisor, Abilene Advisors  
  19. Mr Torsten Juengling, General Manager, BT Security  
  20. Dr Camino Kavanagh, Senior Visiting Fellow/ Member of Advisory Support team to the UN OEWG and UN GGE, King’s College London / United Nations  
  21. Ms Aglika Klayn, Specialist / J-CAT Coordinator, Europol – European Cybercrime Centre  
  22. Prof Stewart Kowalski, Professor of Information Security, Norwegian University of Science and Technology  
  23. Dr Joanna Kulesza, Professor of International Law and Internet Governance, University of Lodz  
  24. Prof Martti Lehto, Professor in Cyber Security, University of Jyväskylä  
  25. Ms Limor Shmerling Magazanik, Managing Director, Israel Tech Policy Institute  
  26. Mr Jamie Meighan, Wing Commander, British Royal Air Force  
  27. Mr Inge Oystein Moen, Senior Advisor, NTNU Center for Cyber & Information Security  
  28. Dr Lars Nicander, Director, Swedish Defence University / CATS  
  29. Ms Katie Nickels, Director of Intelligence, Red Canary  
  30. Ms Dixie O’Donnell, Global Incident Manager, Google  
  31. Ms Grethe Østby, PhD Candidate, Norwegian University of Science and Technology  
  32. Dr Anna-Maria Osula, Senior Policy Officer at Guardtime and Senior Researcher at Tallin University of Technology  
  33. Ms Lennig Pedron, Co-founder and President/ Digital Trust and Cyber Security Advisor, ICON  
  34. Ms Nathalie Van Raemdonk, Doctoral Researcher, Vrije Universiteit Brussels  
  35. Dr David Rubens, Executive Director, Institute of Strategic Risk Management  
  36. Mr Daniel Seiler, Deputy Head, Office of the Special Envoy for Cyber Foreign and Security Policy, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs  
  37. Ms Chelsey Slack , Deputy Head of Cyber Defence NATO  
  38. Mr Nicolas Tinguely, Director, Cyber Security Services, Head of Incident Response and Crisis Management, KPMG  
  39. Ms Yanya Viskovich, Chair, Cyber Risk and Law Working Group, Swiss Cyber Forum  
  40. Mr Bastien Wanner, PhD Candidate, University of Lausanne  


One of the judge’s for the Semi-Finals, Ms Yanya Viskovich, Chair, Cyber Risk & Governance Working Group, Swiss Cyber Forum, Cybersecurity & Data Protection Ethical Specialist reflected on the competition by saying:

 “Cyber incidents today are multifacted and dynamic, requiring policy approaches and solutions that are cross-disciplinary, creative, and diverse.

Cyber security is as much about people as it is about technology, so we need to ask not just what we can do technically speaking, or what we must do from a legal perspective, but also what we should do from an ethical vantage point.

It is encouraging to see the Cyber 9/12 competition participants grappling with cybersecurity’s multi-disciplinary facets.” 


Presiding over the awards ceremony and announcing the winner was Dr Trey Herr, Director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council and Dr Robert Dewar, Head of Cyber Security at the GCSP and Director of the Geneva Competition. 

Listed below are the 24 teams that participated this year: 

  1. Team ArgonautsETH Zürich, Switzerland 
  2. Team Tal-NupsTallinn University of Technology, Estonia and National University of Public Service, Hungary 
  3. Team Adrian’s ApostlesUniversity of Gothenburg, Sweden 
  4. Team Universal StateStockholm University, Sweden 
  5. Team Deep State Machine 5University of Texas at Austin, USA 
  6. Team Everything BlueOld Dominion University, USA 
  7. Team Hoya HaxaGeorgetown University, USA 
  8. Team Ursa MajorUppsala University, Sweden 
  9. Team The Southern Condors, Chilean Naval War College, Chile 
  10. Team CybertariansMasaryk University, Czech Republic 
  11. Team Nordic Cyber RangersNorwegian University of Science and Technology and University of Oslo, Norway 
  12. Team KelpiesUniversity of Glasgow, UK 
  13. Team Swiss APTETH Zürich, Switzerland 
  14. Team CyberQCL, King’s College London, UK 
  15. Team CS GuardsLeiden University, the Netherlands 
  16. Team Ring on FireETH Zürich, Switzerland 
  17. Team AU CybernautsAmerican University, USA 
  18. Team Grey HawksETH Zürich, Switzerland 
  19. Team FIU PanthersFlorida International University, USA 
  20. Team IHEID & SeekThe Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland 
  21. Team NimbusInternational Master Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies, UK 
  22. Team ProxiesUniversity of Oxford and London School of Economics, United Kingdom 
  23. Team UPS I Did It AgainNational University of Public Service, Hungary 
  24. Team 2020 Heinzsight, Carnegie Mellon University, USA 


“The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge in Geneva has gone from strength to strength. In our second year as a fully virtual competition, we challenged teams from around the world to work through a really tricky scenario, one which, while fictional, is not beyond the realms of possibility. 

We were also really luck to welcome teams from well beyond Europe this year, reflecting our goal of making the Geneva competition a truly global event. Thank you to all the teams and judges who helped make this another successful competition, and well done to Team Argonauts for a well-deserved win” says Dr Robert Dewar, Director of the Geneva leg of the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge and Head of Cyber Security at the GCSP. 


The GCSP thanks all the sponsors the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, US Mission in Geneva, Cyber Law International that made this seventh edition of the European Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge a success and looks forward to welcoming many of you in 2022!