IU project receives grant to host NSF Cybersecurity Summits in 2014, 2015

The National Science Foundation has awarded the Center for Trustworthy Scientific Cyberinfrastructure (CTSC), a multi-institutional project led by Indiana University, a $150,376 grant to host the NSF Cybersecurity Summit this year and next. This year's event will be held August 26-28 in Arlington, Virginia and will feature Phyllis Schneck, the deputy under secretary for cybersecurity for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), as a keynote speaker.

CTSC is a collaborative initiative comprising representatives from Indiana University, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. IU's Von Welch, who also directs the university's Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, leads CTSC.

Though the events are by invitation only, representatives from any NSF-funded project with cybersecurity needs or interests is welcome to contact Welch to see if that project's needs align with the summit agendas.

"We're incredibly grateful to the National Science Foundation for their support of not only CTSC, but for the enhancement of cybersecurity throughout the scientific community made possible by these summits," Welch said. "Bringing together representatives from large-scale projects enables us to further understand their cybersecurity needs, which in turn allows us to better serve them. This isn't a traditional conference as much as a dialogue between groups eager to assist one another."

Anita Nikolich, cybersecurity program director within NSF's advanced cyberinfrastructure division, said that the summits help identify critical problems within the NSF community and allow an organization like CTSC to respond to them.

"The NSF supports a tremendous number of science projects that extend well beyond traditional institutional boundaries," Nikolich said. "With science being increasingly multi-institutional and international, cybersecurity is fast-becoming one of the most critical needs of many of our initiatives. Protecting the integrity of our scientific advances is incredibly important, and the NSF Cybersecurity Summit is one of the many ways we are actively working to keep our projects secure. We couldn't be more pleased to partner with CTSC's leadership in hosting these important events."

The NSF Cybersecurity Summit had been held from 2004 to 2009, and was reinstated in 2013 with leadership support from CTSC. The event proved successful enough to warrant further discussion about hosting future events. Welch said he was pleased to learn the NSF would sponsor at least two more summits. The proposed themes are large facilities in 2014, and the application of large facilities to medium-sized projects in the NSF ecosystem in 2015. Large facilities are a major component of the science and engineering enterprise that help facilitate and transform scientific research and education.

"It's important to note that many research grants have difficulty finding the resources and expertise they need to meet their cybersecurity challenges," said James A. Marsteller, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center security officer. "Academic users have a great need for guidance and support in structuring and running their systems in a secure way; the reinstatement of the NSF Cybersecurity Summit will go a long way toward meeting this need."

The mission of CTSC is to improve the cybersecurity of NSF science and engineering projects, while allowing those projects to focus on their science endeavors. The mission is accomplished through one-on-one engagements with projects to address their specific challenges; education, outreach, and training to raise the state of security practice across the scientific enterprise; and leadership on bringing the best and most relevant cybersecurity research to bear on the NSF cyberinfrastructure research community. CTSC was founded with a $4.3-million grant from the NSF in 2012. To learn more, see: http://trustedci.org.