Building Cybersecurity Education and Training

Two new federal grants will expand cybersecurity education at UAlbany. (Photo by Carlo DeJesus)

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 29, 2016) — University at Albany School of Business Professor Sanjay Goel has received funding to build cybersecurity education and industry consortiums. Grants from The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Economic Development Agency (EDA) acknowledge UAlbany’s unique position — with the Digital Forensics program, domain researchers and a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem — to foster cybersecurity innovation, public-private partnerships and job growth regionally. A $197,000 grant from NIST extends for 15 months, and a $583,000 EDA grant extends over five years.

The School of Business has already risen to the challenge of educating and training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, with its undergraduate Bachelor of Science program and forthcoming Masters program in Digital Forensics, which is going through the new program review and approval process. Not only have these programs proven popular among students, they are gaining attention nationally as potential engines of economic growth regionally.

"As our dependence on information technology grows, so too does the threat landscape," said Goel. "These trends have created significant economic risks, but also opportunities that UAlbany is well positioned to harness, and the region is well positioned to benefit from. With Department of Commerce funding from both grants, the University will advance capacity regionally by supporting and streamlining cybersecurity industry and educational resources."

The NIST grant is primarily focused on education and building workforce capacity in cybersecurity. Working across UAlbany’s eminent cyber-defense programs in three colleges, to support programs in regional community colleges and high schools, UAlbany will take a leadership position to develop cybersecurity educational outreach, a summer camp program, an extended internship program and a regional cybersecurity website and job board. These efforts are designed to build regional cybersecurity workforce capacity that is wide and inclusive, with diverse points of entry and paths to success.

With funding from the EDA, Goel will build a regional public/private Advisory Board to support high-growth cybersecurity entrepreneurship and innovative research. UAlbany’s Cyber Innovation Lab will be expanded and made available to local businesses for research and product design and testing. UAlbany’s Blackstone Launchpad will sponsor a Cybersecurity Business Plan Competition, which will be regional in scope, including other universities, and will focus on cybersecurity and forensic ventures/products. And UAlbany will conduct a yearly Cybersecurity Industry Analysis to understand the region’s cybersecurity workforce needs, challenges, and opportunities for growth.

These synergistic grant opportunities acknowledge that cybersecurity is a critical, high-growth industry, and that UAlbany is ideally situated to build cybersecurity consortiums that will fuel growth regionally through applied research, innovation and educational resources.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, businesseducation, public health,health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare and sociology, taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.