Congressional delegation, University of Delaware announce $416,000 federal grant for Cybersecurity Education Initiative

Regional Cybersecurity Education Initiative formed by University of Delaware, Delaware Technical Community College and Harford Community College

NEWARK, Del. – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and U.S. Rep. John Carney joined the University of Delaware to announce a federal grant from the National Science Foundation in the amount of $416,102 to help create a Regional Cybersecurity Education Initiative.  The goal of the initiative, formed by the University of Delaware, Delaware Technical Community College and Harford Community College along with government and industrial partners, is to establish a pipeline of graduates skilled in the theories and practices required to address pressing cybersecurity threats facing our state, region and nation. The Congressional delegation toured a computer lab at the University of Delaware to learn about tools and techniques designed to ready students for this emerging field.

“As a senior member on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, I have had the opportunity to talk with many national security officials, as well as CEOs of major security companies, about the threats our country faces online. Time and time again, these government officials and CEOs tell me the same thing – we need more cybersecurity and IT professionals,” Senator Carper said. “The Regional Cybersecurity Education Initiative that will be supported by this grant is designed to do just that – prepare students to tackle the next major cybersecurity challenge on day one. With new educational programs and more opportunities for hands on training, our students will be able to face the rapidly evolving cyber threats we face today, as well as down the road.”

“A cyber attack is perhaps the greatest looming threat to the United States, and the Cybersecurity Education Initiative’s efforts will play an important role not just for Delaware but in investing in the next generation of technology and cyber experts that will improve our nation’s cybersecurity,” Senator Coons said. “This initiative is a significant collaborative step in understanding and confronting the challenges in the ever-changing realm of cyberspace.  I believe in the Cybersecurity Education Initiative, and I am committed to its success because our nation can’t afford to risk the safety and security of our critical infrastructure.” Senator Coons is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We need cybersecurity to be a priority for some of America’s best and brightest,” Congressman Carney said.  “The Internet is a tremendous resource that individuals and businesses depend on every day.  But, it also creates openings for attacks on American companies, our defense systems, and infrastructure.  As we find new, creative ways of using technology to grow the economy, we also need to make sure these investments are protected.  The Cybersecurity Education Initiative helps develop the talents of those who can protect the U.S. from a cyber attack, and provides them with opportunities that can lead to a very successful career.  I look forward to seeing this program develop.”

The Cybersecurity Education Initiative will:

  • Expand Cybersecurity courses at the University of Delaware
  • Create a minor at the University of Delaware producing students able to design state of the art secure software systems
  • Create a 2+2 Program to allow second year Delaware Technical Community College and Harford Community College students to transfer into four year University of Delaware Computer and Information Sciences, and Computer Engineering BS degree programs
  • Establish cybersecurity internship program
  • Create middle and high school student and teacher summer camps focused on cybersecurity 

Kenneth Barner, principal investigator on the grant and chair of UD’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said the project will be particularly important for Delaware and northern Maryland, “where there is a significant need for trained cybersecurity graduates critical to large regional employers in, for example, the financial services industry and the military.”

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” NSF is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.