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IU Cybersecurity Center receives $12.5M donation from National Science Foundation



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Von Welch is the director and principal investigator of Trusted CI and director of the IU Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. The National Science Foundation has awarded IU-led Cybersecurity Center of Excellence a $12.5 million renewal grant.  Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

The National Science Foundation has awarded Indiana University-led Cybersecurity Center of Excellence a $12.5 million renewal grant. 

The Trusted CI Cybersecurity Center of Excellence and the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research at IU are the face of cybersecurity research for the NSF, according to a university press release. This is the third donation Trusted CI has received from the NSF since their inception at IU in 2013. 

Trusted CI’s mission is to work directly with the scientific community to take on projects and cybersecurity-related challenges, said Von Welch, director and principal investigator of Trusted CI and director of the IU Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research.

The NSF awards research grants to more than 10,000 projects every year. Currently, Trusted CI is working with more than 250 projects in a wide array of scientific fields and hopes to expand that base in the coming years, Welch said. 

"Scientific cyberinfrastructure continues to be negatively impacted by cybercrime and other cyberattacks” Welch said. “Our role is to lead the adoption of a comprehensive cybersecurity framework to support the NSF-funded research and open science." 

Cyberinfrastructure is a term used by the NSF and other research funders to describe research environments that support advanced data mining, inquisition, storage and other computing and information processing services, according to the IU Knowledge Base.

Manish Parashar, NSF director of the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, said the project is key to making cyberinfrastructure more trustworthy.

"Trustworthiness is at the heart of scientific discovery and reproducibility," Parashar said. "As a result, cyberinfrastructure enabling scientific research and discovery must be trustworthy."

Trusted CI has major plans moving forward, Welch said. Starting in 2020, it will launch a training program to bring their protocols to regions across the country. Trusted CI will train a wide variety of people in cybersecurity skills in order to protect national research projects, Welch said. 

As well as training others to help keep scientific research secure, Welch said Trusted CI is planning monthly webinars and publications about cybersecurity. Trusted CI also organizes the Cybersecurity Summit, where hundreds of members of the cybersecurity community will come to IU to share their experiences and network with others. 

“We want to maintain scientific productivity, because all this research is very important, but cybersecurity is just as important,” Welch said.

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