CIRI announces 2017 projects

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (CIRI) at the University of Illinois is pleased to announce a slate of newly funded projects that aim to create more secure and resilient critical infrastructure. The 13 projects were selected from a pool of 86 applications submitted in response to CIRI’s call for proposals.

CIRI is one of 10 Centers of Excellence established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Office of University Programs. Led by Director and Principal Investigator David Nicol, the goal of the institute is to develop a nuanced understanding of the interdependencies of our nation’s organizational, policy, business, and technical resources. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the CIRI research program aims to suggest pathways toward developing healthier, more robust human and technical systems that can better withstand and more efficiently recover from cyber-attacks and failures.

“One of the interesting things about our critical infrastructure is that the vast majority of it is owned and operated by the private sector,” says Nicol, who is the Franklin W. Woeltge Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Illinois. “If we want to improve the resilience of these structures, we have to better understand how they interact with each other – in both intended and unintended ways – and we have to foster better relationships between the public and private sectors that own, operate, and govern these systems.”

The latest round of funding supports a blend of new projects and projects that are now entering an advanced phase. The projects are diverse, but they each align under one of four frameworks that drive CIRI’s scientific exploration: (1) Insurance and the Business Case for Resilience, (2) Infrastructure Dependencies and Interdependencies, (3) Industrial Supply Chains, and (4) Communication.  Researchers will explore topics ranging from securing port infrastructure to creating economic resilience models that help decision makers use cost-effective tactics during pre-disaster planning and post-disaster recovery.

“These projects all have the potential to dramatically shape what we know and understand about infrastructure resilience,” says Matt Coats, DHS Program Manager. “Each of these scientists brings their own experience and perspective to bear on this body of research, which is one of the strengths of organizations like CIRI. David and his team have created a framework to help guide the strategic exploration of a domain that is both vast and complex and they’re using an approach that rapidly evolves our understanding and management of such an essential area.”

Projects funded for implementation in early 2017 include the following:

  • Resilience Governance for Infrastructure Dependencies and Interdependencies – Steve Flynn, Northeastern University
  • LEFT: An LTE-Oriented Emulation-Instrumented Fuzzing Testbed – Guanhua Yan, Binghamton University, SUNY
  • Mapping Infrastructure Interdependencies for Improved Emergency Management and Resilience Investment Decisions – Iris Tien, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Measuring Business and Economic Resilience in Disasters – Adam Rose, University of Southern California
  • Community Resilience and Disaster Costs – Sally Ann McConkey, University of Illinois
  • Scenariobased Flood Risk Mapping – Himanshu Grover, University of Washington
  • Cybersecurity Assurance for Critical Infrastructure – John Villasenor, UCLA (Stanford University, lead)
  • Identifying and Reducing Barriers to Infrastructure Insurance – Howard Kunreuther, University of Pennsylvania
  • Strengthening Local and Regional Regulatory Capacities for Cyber-Resilience – Rebecca Slayton, Cornell University (Stanford University, lead)
  • Quantifying Interdependencies of the Logical/Physical Internet Topologies – Kimberly Claffy, University of California, San Diego
  • Towards Community Resilience through Comprehensive Risk Assessment for Business Continuity – Jay P. Kesan, University of Illinois
  • Assessment and Measurement of Port Disruptions – Gabriel Weaver, University of Illinois
  • Dynamic Resiliency Modeling and Planning for Interdependent Critical Infrastructures– Quanyan Zhu, New York University

These projects are all slated for kickoff in early 2017. For more information about these and other CIRI funded projects, visit