CIRI's four Summer Research Teams receive follow-on funding for projects

3/3/2022 10:05:32 AM Ivan Sanchez for CIRI

Four CIRI research teams sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security’s Summer Research Teams (SRT) Program for Minority Serving Institutions have received additional funding to continue research started during the 2021 summer program. The SRT program is a 10-week collaborative research initiative created with the mission to increase and enhance scientific leadership at minority serving institutions by providing faculty and student researchers with the opportunity to conduct collaborative research at a DHS Center of Excellence.

2021 summer research team
2021 DHS Summer Research Team members

“Each team is expected to apply for follow-on funding at the end of the 10-week summer research period. If approved by DHS, the funding amount is $50,000 for a one-year period of performance,” said Andrea Whitesell, CIRI Senior Research Program Manager. Follow-on projects are extensions of the work conducted over the summer with additional objectives starting March 1st, 2022, and running throughout March 31st, 2023.

The SRT program is comprised of four different teams. Each team contains at least one faculty member and up to two students. Each team’s current area of focus is listed below:

Enhancing Cybersecurity KSAs for Cybersecurity Education and Workforce Development

  • Home University: University of North Texas
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Dan Kim
  • This research team is working to map the components, functions, tasks, and roles of cybersecurity workers to set up the industry for success in an ever-evolving environment. They are currently looking to close gaps between the National Cybersecurity Education Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NICE) and current cybersecurity job postings and professional publications. This project will look to provide a set of benefits that can impact teaching and research activities as well as the nation’s homeland security mission.

Integration of Vehicle-Based Sensing and Vehicle Dynamic Model in Evaluating Resilience of Highway Infrastructure

  • Home University: Northern Arizona University
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Chun-Hsing Ho
  • This research team aims to continue their project of improving the current and critical issues in highway infrastructures by developing a theoretical solution for a vehicle-based sensing system to predict roadway roughness. They will seek to leverage vibration data to review the theoretical background of the model and to better assess the performance of infrastructure systems in the upcoming summer.

Blockchain: Harnessing Linked Distributed Ledger

  • Home University: Texas State University
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Dan Tamir
  • Working with DHS Center of Excellence – Maritime Security Center, this team has been looking at ways blockchain can be used by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to improve their operations and will look to continue doing so through quantitative evaluation of the utility of several systems explored from the previous summer. This includes implementation of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) systems, incorporating security enhancements, and using simulation of specific use case which are of interest to the United States Coast Guard in the security enhanced DLT systems.

Evaluating Ontologies for Cybersecurity Workforce Development Applications

  • Home University: University of North Texas
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Dipak Pravin
  • This group has worked to improve the CyberTalent Bridge that was previously developed by CIRI. They are currently seeking to establish a measure of effectiveness for their results, identify any additional theoretical tools or techniques that should be considered, and verify results from the previous summer.

When asked about what it means for research teams to receive additional funding to continue to pursue their work, SRT’s Dr. Kim stated, “Opportunities afforded through the follow-on funding will allow us to continue our research efforts and the relationships we have built. The excellent workshops and resources the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign provided over the summer helped to inform us as to the direction of future critical research, while acting as a springboard for interdisciplinary academic discussion.”

Dr. Tamir added, “The students and I are excited and grateful for getting the recognition of the DHS, CIRI, USGC, and Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education in the quality of our work so far, the importance of the work, and the future opportunities to expand and extend our research to further support the mission and operations of these organizations.”

For additional information on each research team and their area of focus, you can find their information and research stories from the original story here.