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HACU is advising all member and partner institutions to be aware of a new law allowing higher education institutions, alone or in consortia, to immediately apply for multi-year National Science Foundation grants to establish multidisciplinary Computer and Network Security Research Centers.

Public Law 107-305, the Cyber Security Research and Development Act, adopted by the
107th Congress, authorizes the National Science Foundation to appropriate a total of $233 million in five-year grants to eligible institutions, beginning in the federal fiscal year (FY) 2003 now under way, to establish these Centers. Funds also will be made available for a Graduate Research Fellowships Program, and for related research and programs. The program is also structured to award grants to higher education institutions to establish or improve undergraduate and master degree programs in computer and network security.

HACU member and partner institutions should be aware that a specific concern of this new law is expanding the pool of information security professionals, including researchers, in the U.S. workforce. While Hispanics, African Americans and Native Americans make up 25 percent of the U.S. workforce overall, members of these minorities comprise less than 7 percent of the U.S. computer and information science workforce.

Therefore, merit-reviewed competitive grant awards will be based, in part, on how a proposed Center will contribute to increasing the number and quality of computer and network security researchers and other professionals, including individuals from groups historically
under-represented in these fields. Because of the inherently multicultural student enrollment at HACU member and partner institutions, HACU believes these institutions have a built-in advantage in the ability to comply with this requirement.

As soon as NSF issues an RFP (Request for Proposal) the HACU Washington D.C. office will provide HSI presidents and the HSI offices for sponsored research the funding criteria and proposal submission deadlines. For more information, contact HACU’s Washington, D.C., office at (202) 833-8361.

HACU Member Advisories are a Service
of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.