The National Science Foundation (NSF) this week announced $74.5 million in research grants to support interdisciplinary cybersecurity research.
The grants, offered through the NSF Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program, are aimed at projects focused on enhancing security practices and technologies and bolstering education and training in cybersecurity.
According to the NSF, the SaTC program was designed to offer support for research on mitigation of hardware, software and networking vulnerabilities. At the same time, it supports the research of the “human components of cybersecurity” and ways of improving cybersecurity education to help build the skills and talent needed to defend against future cyber threats.
Overall, a total of 257 new projects to researchers in 37 states will be supported, helping both early-career investigators and early-concept grants, as well as multi-institutional, broad-scope research, the NSF said.
One of the largest, multi-institutional awards included in this round of funding is for The Science and Applications of Crypto-Currency, which involves research on understanding and increasing the reliability of cryptocurrencies that are based on encryption for security. A second grant was announced for Internet-Wide Vulnerability Measurement, Assessment and Notification, focused on new technology for scanning large parts of the web to detect and resolve security flaws.
Towards a Science of Censorship Resistance was announced as the third largest multi-institutional award in this round of funding, at $448,617. Researchers behind it are focused on building accurate models of the capabilities of censors, to establish the “science of censorship resistance”. The complete list of SaTC awards is available on the NSF website.
“No solution for securing cyberspace is complete without the integration of research that examines how people behave in the complicated systems that constitute the Internet–from the users of Internet commerce to the attackers who endanger networks,” said Fay Lomax Cook, NSF assistant director for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences. “Technology and behavior are intrinsically linked in the world of cybersecurity, and NSF’s support for interdisciplinary research reflects that.”
NSF also announced that 11 of the awards granted this year are for research on addressing nation’s need for cybersecurity education and workforce development. They include building new training and education programs, as well as the creation of effective cybersecurity pedagogy. Other projects are focused on training workers in hospitals on cybersecurity, on virtual environments for students to experiment and learn about cybersecurity, and on competitions and challenges to broaden cybersecurity education.
NSF has been long supporting researchers looking for innovative ways to boost information security and Internet privacy, as well as for projects that resulted in algorithms for electronic commerce, software security bug detection, spam filtering, and more, to build upon. This year alone, NSF made investments of around $160 million invested in cybersecurity research and education.
“NSF-supported cybersecurity research builds the foundational and multidisciplinary knowledge bases needed to protect us in cyberspace–an environment that has expanded beyond computers to encompass many aspects of our physical world and critical infrastructure,” said Jim Kurose, NSF assistant director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering.