OCTOBER 21, 2021 — The University of Texas at San Antonio and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) have signed a federal research contract worth over $18 million to accelerate research and development in strategic areas beneficial to both organizations.
The contract was negotiated by the Office of the Vice President for Research, Economic Development, and Knowledge Enterprise. UTSA’s work will support the AFRL’s overarching mission to lead discovery, development and delivery of warfighting technologies for air, space and cyberspace forces.
The university will deliver a pipeline of technical innovations and talent to advance cyber resilience and emerging commercial technologies.
“Our long-standing research relationships with our various military branches, particularly the Air Force, helps address grand challenges in cyber and national security. This collaboration will advance translational research in these domains, serve the needs of our students and those of our nation, and advance our collective knowledge overall,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy.
The relationship and scope of work will be managed by the National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC) at UTSA under the direction of Brig. Gen. (ret) Guy M. Walsh, executive director. Over the past two years, Walsh has led UTSA's growth of the NSCC ecosystem which now includes more than 60 federal, academic and industry partners.
This most recent collaboration with the AFRL will directly support research and workforce development for the 16th Air Force in San Antonio as well as the broader Air Force community. In his previous roles as a close air support combat pilot and commander and strategist with U.S. Cyber Command, Walsh has cultivated strong federal relationships and continues to work with the national director of cybersecurity, Joint Base San Antonio and DHS Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security Agency.
This contract will enable collaboration in research and development in varied disciplines such as data sciences, cloud/edge computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and cybersecurity. It will specifically address challenges in 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and their applications. The research and development projects will be managed by John H. Huggins, the NSCC’s technology officer.
There will also be enhanced research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to solve the Air Force’s operationally relevant challenges and be engaged with integrated research teams that span government, industry and academia.
At the same time, the NSCC will collaborate with UTSA’s many research centers and institutes to support AFRL’s mission. The MATRIX AI Consortium will support development of innovations using artificial intelligence models created and operated with data from the emerging technologies of 5G, IoT,and IIoT that are resilient to adversary attacks.
“The emergence and application of new technologies opens up possibilities for convergence research to tackle intractable problems,” said Bernard Arulanandam, UTSA vice president for research, economic development, and knowledge enterprise.
Locally, UTSA and the NSCC have established relationships with many facets of the Air Force and Department of Defense including the 16th Air Force, Joint Base San Antonio and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.
San Antonio is the second-largest global cyber hub in the United States.
The NSCC will soon be co-located with the UTSA School of Data Science in a new world-class $90 million research and education center, the first new building in a series planned as part of its Downtown Campus expansion. The building is scheduled to open in summer 2022 and will feature 72,000 square feet of innovation space, laboratories and research facilities, serving as a hub for government, university and industry in support of national security and bolstering the city’s national standing as Cyber City USA.
UTSA is the nation’s only Hispanic Serving Institution with three Center of Excellence designations from the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
DISTRIBUTION A. Approved for public release; distribution unlimited. AFRL-2021-3521, 14 Oct 2021.
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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
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