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U.S. Department of Energy selects UTSA to lead Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute

U.S. Department of Energy selects UTSA to lead Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute

Design rendering for National Security Collaboration Center and School of Data Science | Jacobs/Overland

MAY 27, 2020 — UTSA has been selected to receive a five-year, $70 million cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Energy to establish and lead the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII). This new federal research institute will usher in an era of cybersecurity that focuses on achieving energy efficiency, leads to job creation and technical innovation and further propels the United States to the forefront of manufacturing competitiveness.

U.S. manufacturers are the top target for cyber criminals and nation-state adversaries, impacting the manufacturing and deployment of energy technologies, such as electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines. Integration across the supply chain network and an increased use of automation applied in energy-efficient manufacturing processes can make industrial infrastructures vulnerable to cyberattacks. To protect American manufacturing jobs and workers, CyManII will enable a digital transformation that makes manufacturers more resilient and globally competitive against our nation’s adversaries.

“CyManII leverages the unique research capabilities of the Idaho, Oak Ridge and Sandia National Laboratories as well as critical expertise across our partner cyber manufacturing ecosystem,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “We look forward to formalizing our partnership with the DOE to advance cybersecurity in energy-efficient manufacturing for the nation.”

“We selected UTSA to lead CyManII due to the university’s well-known strengths in cybersecurity and national connectivity in this space.”

As part of its national strategy CyManII will focus on three high-priority areas where collaborative research and development can help U.S. manufacturers: securing automation, securing the supply chain network and building a national program for education and workforce development.

“As United States manufacturers increasingly deploy automation tools in their daily work, those technologies must be embedded with powerful cybersecurity protections,” said Howard Grimes, CyManII chief executive officer and associate vice president and associate vice provost for institutional initiatives at UTSA. “UTSA has assembled a team of best-in-class national laboratories, industry, nonprofit and academic organizations to cybersecure the U.S. manufacturing enterprise. Together, we will share the mission to protect the nation’s supply chains, preserve its critical infrastructure and boost its economy.”

CyManII’s research objectives will focus on understanding the evolving cybersecurity threats to greater energy efficiency in manufacturing industries, developing new cybersecurity technologies and methods and sharing information and knowledge with the broader community of U.S. manufacturers.

CyManII aims to revolutionize cybersecurity in manufacturing by designing and building a secure manufacturing architecture that is pervasive, unobtrusive and an enabler for energy efficiency. Grimes said the latter aspect of this industry-driven approach is essential because it allows manufacturers of all sizes to invest in cybersecurity and achieve an energy return on investment rather than continually spending money on cyber patches.

These efforts will result in a suite of methods, standards and tools rooted in the concept that everything in the manufacturing supply chain has a unique authentic identity. These solutions will address the comprehensive landscape of complex vulnerabilities and be economically implemented in a wide array of machines and environments.

“On behalf of The University of Texas System Board of Regents, UTSA and UT System are grateful to the U.S. Department of Energy for selecting us to lead this very important national effort in cybersecurity and manufacturing. We selected UTSA to lead CyManII due to the university’s well-known strengths in cybersecurity and national connectivity in this space,” said James B. Milliken, chancellor for the UT System. “This groundbreaking endeavor has UT System’s full support as the project is launched and realized.”

UTSA was designated by The University of Texas System to lead its CyManII proposal, based on the university’s core expertise in cybersecurity and the breadth and depth of its national relationships. In addition to its federal funding the institute will be supported by an additional $41 million in cost-sharing funds from its partners, including UT System’s commitment of $10 million, bringing the total five-year investment to over $111 million.

Additionally, UTSA has entered into negotiations with DOE and will work toward finalizing the cooperative agreement. At that time more information will become available about the institute, its partnerships and the scope of work.

Christi Fish

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