Department of Higher Education Awards Research Incentive Funding for Cybersecurity Research

COLUMBUS, Ohio (2020-01-30) — 

Three public universities and one independent university in Ohio will receive Research Incentive funding from the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) to conduct research regarding cybersecurity programs and initiatives in Ohio.

Campuses receiving funding are the University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University, Ohio University, and the University of Dayton.

The funding was allocated as part of a provision in House Bill 166, which gives ODHE the authority to use the funds to advance collaborative research in specified research areas. Awardees are chosen through a third-party, independent review process that is undertaken to objectively evaluate proposals through an RFP process. ODHE may award up to $750,000 in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 to support research of cybersecurity programs and initiatives. Ohio State’s project will be supported through funds previously allocated to ODHE and dedicated to supporting cybersecurity initiatives.

“Improving our state’s cybersecurity measures, as well as investing in training our workforce for these in-demand careers, positions our state as a leader in the cybersecurity field,” said Governor Mike DeWine.

“Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing, in-demand field that requires a growing and skilled workforce,” ODHE Chancellor Randy Gardner said. “This Research Incentive funding will allow our universities to collaborate with businesses to address ways to develop a stronger cybersecurity infrastructure while expanding the number of skilled workers in this field across the state.”

Funding awarded and project details are as follows:

  • University of Cincinnati – $997,502 for the Ohio Cyber Range Institute (OCRI). Funding will be used to establish Regional Programming Centers for the OCRI, the statewide cyber institute developed through a partnership between ODHE and the Ohio Adjutant General’s Department. The goal of the OCRI is to advance cyber education and training, along with economic and workforce development in cyber-related fields, throughout the state. UC hosts the OCRI, with the University of Akron serving as a secondary site. The OCRI will designate Regional Programming Centers that will have the responsibility of carrying out the goals of the OCRI in their respective regions.
  • The Ohio State University – $409,846 for the Ohio Cybersecurity Initiative for Mobility and Manufacturing. OSU is partnering with Columbus State Community College to establish a campus-wide cybersecurity research testbed for existing vehicular, Internet of Things, and manufacturing platforms. The goal of the project is to engage and collaborate with Ohio businesses to use the testbed to address real-world cybersecurity problems, provide cutting-edge workforce training, and foster lasting collaborative relationships on issues of cybersecurity.
  • Ohio University – $225,161 for strategic educational initiatives to improve cyber defenses in the state. Funding will be used to address cybersecurity workforce gaps through the development of three levels of cybersecurity and awareness training courses and curriculum. This includes an entry-level short course for k-12 teachers; a multi-day advanced course for industry practitioners; and enhancement of university undergraduate and graduate curriculum in cybersecurity-related areas.
  • University of Dayton – $277,201 to support three interrelated initiatives pertaining to cybersecurity. The workforce development initiative involves building out the capacity of the Dayton Cyber Range. The project team will develop advanced cyber exercises to reflect real-world issues in a simulated environment. The range will be offered for training to Dayton-area businesses. The cyber-mindfulness initiative team will build toolkits for training industry employees on how to be mindful of potential cyber-attacks that can happen within the workplace. The training will be tailored to the particular environment (small business, school district, etc.). The sharing of cyber expertise initiative will create, curate, and regularly update cyber material, curriculum, best practices, and videos, and will offer everything for use by Ohio businesses, industries, schools, and other entities.

Project findings will be reported by each institution and are expected by the end of fiscal year 2021. House Bill 166 also provides Research Incentive awards of up to $1 million in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 for projects in the areas of addiction research and infant mortality.

About the Ohio Department of Higher Education

The Ohio Department of Higher Education is a Cabinet-level agency for the Governor of the State of Ohio that oversees higher education for the state. The agency’s main responsibilities include authorizing and approving new degree programs, managing state-funded financial aid programs and developing and advocating policies to maximize higher education’s contributions to the state and its citizens.

Contact Information: 

Jeff Robinson
Ohio Department of Higher Education
Office: 614.752.9487
Email: jrobinson@highered.ohio.gov

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