The 2018-20 Virginia budget signed by Gov. Ralph Northam today includes $25 million for the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative that will leverage public institutions of higher education to build an ecosystem of cyber-related research, education, and engagement to position Virginia as a world leader in cybersecurity at the confluence with data analytics, machine learning, and autonomous systems.

The initiative calls for a primary “hub” to be located in Northern Virginia and a network of “spoke” sites across the commonwealth with collaborating universities in Virginia and industry partners that will catalyze research, innovation, and the commercialization of cybersecurity technologies and address the state’s need for growth of advanced degrees and professional training within the cyber workforce.

The state has asked Virginia Tech to lead this initiative because of its widely recognized strengths in science and engineering, existing expertise in cybersecurity research and education, and its significant research presence in Northern Virginia.

The university will build upon and broaden the work of its Hume Center for National Security and Technology, which focuses on developing a national security workforce and the research challenges of cybersecurity, information systems, and autonomy. The Hume Center’s 80 faculty engage more than 400 students per year in research and experiential learning programs. Since 2012, Hume Center faculty have spun off eight venture-backed startups that have raised more than $120 million in capital.

In addition, the hub will leverage Virginia Tech’s Discovery Analytics Center and Biocomplexity Institute, bringing together computer scientists, engineers, and statisticians to meet the research and talent needs of a data-intensive world, as well as the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the second-largest university transportation institute in the country, to conduct research that shapes business practices and policy.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to anchor the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative with this support from the state, along with the collaboration with the Virginia Research Investment Committee and our partner institutions of higher education in Virginia,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands.

“The $25 million from the state will catalyze what we envision will become a …

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