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Md. universities to work on federal cybersecurity center

Two Maryland universities are partnering with a nonprofit research organization to operate a new, federally funded research center dedicated to cybersecurity.

The University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County will work together with The MITRE Corp., a nonprofit that supports federal research centers, on the cybersecurity project.

MITRE was selected by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology to operate the first “federally funded research and development center” dedicated entirely to cybersecurity and protecting national information systems, officials said Monday.

The new federal center will build on and support an existing project: the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, which was established in 2012 by state officials, Montgomery County officials and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The purpose of the Center of Excellence is to “help businesses secure their data and digital infrastructure by bringing together information security experts from industry, government and academia,” according to a news release issued Monday.

The new federal funding will enable UMBC, UMCP and The MITRE Corp. to further advance the goals of the existing Center of Excellence, which is based out of a state-of-the-art cybersecurity research lab in Rockville.

About 40 information technology professionals from MITRE will staff the federal center, officials estimated.

“We’re honored that NIST has chosen us to operate this new and timely cybersecurity-focused (center),” said Alfred Grasso, MITRE’s president and CEO, in a statement.

“Our work helping government and industry protect their critical assets, and our ongoing collaboration with the cybersecurity community — particularly in advancing standards and facilitating threat-sharing — nicely complements [the Center of Excellence’s] mission.”

University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan said in a statement that the new federal center will present “phenomenal opportunities” for faculty and students to work with industry leaders and government personnel on cybersecurity issues that are critical to national security, as well as the business community.


About Alissa Gulin

Alissa Gulin covers health care, education and general business at The Daily Record.