Jackson State University recipient of nearly $250K funding and shared resources to accelerate cybersecurity research capacity through cyberinfrastructure

(JACKSON, Miss) – Jackson State University is set to receive a proof-of-concept planning grant of nearly $250,000 as announced by The Minority Serving – Cyberinfrastructure Consortium (MS-CC) and Internet2 today. The funding is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant #2234326.

“We are excited about the possibilities that come with enhancing our cybersecurity infrastructure capacity. Not only that, these funds will allow us to broaden our research computing capabilities, a great necessity as we move toward our goal of expanding our research capacity and continue achieving research excellence,” said Deborah F. Dent, Ph.D., chief information officer at JSU. “Furthermore, this award will support JSU’s enterprise, data analytics, BIG DATA computational chemistry, high-performance computing and telehealth informatics, including buttressing workforce development for professors and students.” 

The proof-of-concept grant program is a multi-year effort that aims to support the acceleration of cyberinfrastructure- centric education and research capacity at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). Cyberinfrastructure refers to the information technology tools and resources needed to support today’s computing and data-intensive curricula and research activities at college campuses.

Vice President of Community Engagement at Internet2 and the grant’s principal investigator Ana Hunsinger says the proof-of-concept grant program represents an effort to develop a novel approach for cyberinfrastructure advancement at HBCUs and TCUs that, if successful, could potentially be used as a framework for advancing cyberinfrastructure at a broad range of minority-serving and under-resourced institutions.

Aside from JSU, proof-of-concept grant recipients will include:

  • Claflin University, a private, liberal arts HBCU in Orangeburg, South Carolina;
  • Tennessee State University is leading a multi-HBCU collaboration with Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, and American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee;
  • North Carolina A&T State University, a public HBCU in Greensboro, North Carolina;
  • Salish Kootenai College, a TCU serving the Bitterroot Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d’Oreilles Tribes in Montana

“The proof-of-concept grants are intended to provide an initial set of campuses with funding and expert consulting that meets them where they are and supports their cyberinfrastructure needs around campus research and education priorities,” said Hunsinger. “Each of the grants requires individual considerations for cyberinfrastructure strategic planning and services, and we’re pleased to work alongside each of the campuses to facilitate cyberinfrastructure opportunities in support of data-intensive research and education programs. Congratulations to all the proof-of-concept grant program recipients!”

Starting this month, JSU will receive ongoing consulting and dedicated advising from teams of experts in cyberinfrastructure strategic planning and implementation. 

The proof-of-concept grant program is being implemented in year one as a set of planning grants with the potential for additional funding over the next four years to each of the five selected recipients. The MS-CC is organizing parallel streams of engagement with all proof-of-concept grant recipients that are responsive to each recipient’s proposed goals and activities. 

In year one, each recipient will apply their proposed combination of funding to local human effort and cyberinfrastructure technology development toward their specific goals and paired with the expert support they have each proposed from the MS-CC. 

For example, some campuses will hire new cyberinfrastructure coordinators to work with the MS-CC’s experts to engage faculty and other stakeholders, while other campuses will apply some funding to small technology testbeds that would inform future grant proposals to federal funding agencies.

Year one activities are expected to inform the timing and structure of additional proof-of-concept grants, contingent upon the availability of funding in later years of the NSF grant.

Read the official announcement of the NSF award funding the proof-of-concept grant program. 

To learn more about the MS-CC, visit www.ms-cc.org.