Sept. 8, 2023

NDSU cybersecurity institute awarded $1.5 million


The North Dakota State University (NDSU) Institute for Cyber Security Education and Research and the NDSU Department of Computer Science have been awarded $1.5 million in federal funding through the Griffiss Institute, in partnership with the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research & Engineering and the Air Force Research Laboratory-Information Directorate, as part of the Virtual Institutes for Cyber and Electromagnetic Spectrum Research and Employ (VICEROY) program.  This funding will support NDSU and its partner institutions in providing world-class cybersecurity education to students and enhance our cybersecurity, computer science and related programs.

The VICEROY program is designed to augment the traditional college curriculum through providing hands-on, experiential learning and internship opportunities that match the workforce demands of the U.S. Department of Defense and the American defense industrial base. The program aims to increase the quality and quantity of students with job-ready cybersecurity skills upon graduation.

“Our participation in the VICEROY program provides an exceptional opportunity for NDSU students to gain hands-on experience and real-world skills in cybersecurity,” said NDSU Cybersecurity Institute director Dr. Jeremy Straub, who is a faculty member in the Computer Science Department and also serves as the principal investigator for this program.  “We look forward to using the additional resources provided by VICEROY to build on our existing strengths and develop new world-class courses, labs and other resources to drive student learning.”

NDSU serves as the lead institution for the Upper Midwest VICEROY virtual institute in conjunction with partner institutions Bismarck State College, Minot State University, the City University of Seattle and the North Dakota University System Dakota Digital Academy.  The partner institutions, who all have significant experience working together, will be developing curricula to share between institutions and broadly with the cybersecurity and computing education community.

The Upper Midwest VICEROY virtual institute produce best-of-breed online course content and make it widely available for use.  It will also conduct efforts to broaden participation in DoD cybersecurity careers (and cybersecurity careers, in general) amongst K-12 students and underserved populations.  At present, course offerings in the United States have significant quality differences and, in many cases, not enough focus is spent on course development, leading to lower-than-necessary quality courses and higher recurring expenses. 

The Upper Midwest VICEROY virtual institute aims to produce higher-quality courses that will have a reduced recurring cost to offer them.  The project will produce better-educated DoD-workforce-ready graduates, lower delivery cost and expand program capacity, allowing more students to be prepared for cybersecurity careers.

The virtual institute plans to leverage the VICEROY funding to grow its repertoire of cybersecurity and electromagnetic spectrum courses, enhance these courses and ensure that they are available as fully online courses for U.S. Military personnel to take as part of ROTC programs and while serving on bases in the United States or U.S. overseas bases.  These quality courses will also be made available to individuals who are or aspire to be DoD civilian employees and to those who may go on into roles at defense contractors or in the national cybersecurity workforce.  Courses will also be offered as part of a military-to-private-sector transition programs.

The project has an initial funded term of two-years; however, the virtual institute is expected to continue to operate indefinitely.

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