This project aims to plan and create an innovation engine in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) with a focus on cybersecurity, cyber-physical systems, edge computing, and the internet of things (IoT).
The project recognizes the increasing importance of cybersecurity and the potential economic benefits of this field. The CSRA Region of Service is seen as an ideal location due to recent investments in the area, the presence of potential entrepreneurs, and the opportunity to develop minority business owners. The project will involve partnerships with several academic institutions, government entities, economic development organizations, and small businesses. The project has the potential to have a transformative impact on the socio-economic status of the CSRA.
Augusta University is the lead institution, located in Augusta, Georgia. The CSRA Region of Service of the project spans several counties spans several counting on both banks of the Savannah River in Georgia and South Carolina. The region has a total population of nearly 800,000, and at the heart of this area is the Metropolitan Statistical Area of Augusta-Richmond County. Multiple recent developments offer the potential of creating significant new economic activity in the region, all centered around the broad theme of cybersecurity, such as the relocation of US Army Cyber Command to Fort Gordon in Georgia, State of Georgia Support for Georgia Cyber Center (GCC), and creation of a new School of Computer and Cyber Sciences (SCCS) at Augusta University. These developments have fueled growth in the area and contributed to Augusta being recognized as one of the top 10 emerging hubs for cybersecurity in the world.
For this project, the technical area encompasses the fields of:
The total worldwide cost of cybercrime is expected to increase from $6 trillion in 2021 to more than $20 trillion in 2027, making it crucial for national security and economic vitality. The market sizes for Edge Computing and CPS are projected to grow to $87.3 billion and $137 billion respectively by 2027. However, the omni-presence of IoT and CPS increases cybersecurity risks due to a much larger attack surface, and workforce shortages in cybersecurity are still a significant challenge. Comprehensive partnerships between major stakeholders are also lacking.
Augusta University is leading a group of committed academic partners, which include Augusta Technical College, Clark Atlanta University, and University of Georgia. The project includes two DoD/DoE entities: ARCYBER (with its Technology and Innovation Center) and Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL). The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and Southeast Cyber Industry Association will plan economic development for the project. Other committed partners include two small businesses, Trideum and Bigbear.AI; and Georgia Cyber Center.
This project aims to expand the partnerships with the Georgia Cyber Center and recent research momentum by emphasizing use-inspired research driven by key partners. This includes bringing other research partners into the CSRA and facilitating greater interactions between faculty, students, and small businesses in the region. Additionally, this project will continue to develop and deliver education programs focused on inclusion and regional needs, while working towards increasing enrollments in programs designed to address the cybersecurity talent gap.
This project will bring in economic development partners of different types and use the expertise of the International Economic Development Council to conduct a comprehensive environmental scan. Finally, it will tap into the potential of the surrounding community, particularly minorities and veterans, to launch successful businesses and facilitate training activities.
The Cyber workforce development activity will heavily be built on top of the comprehensive set of existing programs, which are already aligned with regional and national needs. The activities in the scope of the Type 1 award are focusing on increasing enrollments, creating more synergy between the partners and programs, continuing to interact with regional employers, and finally, developing new programs.
This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Number P2306109. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.