RIT recognized for cyber defense research

U.S. government agencies recognize RIT for research that improves American cybersecurity

The National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have recognized RIT for its work in cybersecurity research and designated the university as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research.

Rochester Institute of Technology has been nationally recognized for its significant contributions in defending America’s cyberspace through computing security research.

RIT has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R) through the year 2022. The university is already certified as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD) through 2021.

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jointly sponsor the National Centers for Academic Excellence. With the new certification, RIT faculty and students will have more opportunities to participate in research projects with government agencies, including the NSA and DHS.

The Center of Academic Excellence program seeks to advance state-of-the-art cyber defense technology, policy and practices that will enable the U.S. to effectively prevent and respond to a catastrophic cyber event. Currently, 142 institutions hold a designation in Cyber Defense Education and 72 hold a Cyber Defense Research designation. However, RIT is one of only 39 schools to have both designations.

“We are very proud to join this group of research elites working to contribute to the protection of our national information infrastructure,” said Bo Yuan, professor and chair of RIT’s Department of Computing Security. “Since first designated as a CAE-CD in 2006, the CAE-R designation has been one of our high achieving goals to strive for.”

In 2015, RIT identified cybersecurity as a signature research area. RIT and the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences invested $2 million in cybersecurity research and founded the Center for Cybersecurity, which evolved from the former Center for the Advancement of Research and Education in Information Assurance. Led by Director Matthew Wright, a leading expert in internet security and privacy, the Center for Cybersecurity’s main mission is to bring RIT experts from across the campus together under one roof and conduct original research as a team.

“We want to recognize all the faculty who have worked to develop RIT into a top-tier cybersecurity research university,” said Anne Haake, dean of GCCIS. “Everything from our undergraduate and graduate computing security degree programs to our work with outreach and extracurricular competitions have all led to these CAE designations.”

“Like all nations, the United States has a compelling interest in defending its vital national assets, as well as our core principles and values, and we are committed to defending against those who would attempt to impede our ability to do so,” said Lynn Hathaway, National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research Program Manager, NSA, in a statement. “Education is the key to promoting these ideals.”

“I believe this designation is a recognition of the growth of research in cybersecurity at RIT in recent years,” said Yuan. “Increasing the number of cybersecurity students in the GCCIS Ph.D. program is also one of key factors for this designation.”

RIT was noted for meeting the increasing demands of the program criteria, which addresses the critical shortage of professionals with cybersecurity skills and highlights the importance of higher education as a solution to defending America’s cyberspace.

“RIT has a proven track record of training and supplying talented and skilled professionals needed by our nation’s security agencies to protect our cyber infrastructure,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “The Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency have rightly recognized RIT’s leadership in cybersecurity, and this designation will enable RIT to train a ready workforce to defend and protect our nation’s cyber infrastructure and other assets.”

“Strengthening our cyber defenses is among our nation’s most urgent priorities,” said U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport. “I’m proud that RIT will continue playing a leading role in this effort following its designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research. This decision by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security will allow some of Rochester’s brightest minds to develop the skills necessary to better protect our country’s information infrastructure.”

RIT will receive an official designation certificate at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Conference on Nov. 8 in Dayton, Ohio.

To see a full list of National Center of Academic Excellence institutions and learn more, go to the National Security Agency website.


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