The Forge Institute, along with the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and University of Arkansas Little Rock, jointly announced a partnership to advance applied research in areas that support U.S. national defense, including cybersecurity.
This collaboration brings together the resources, research and capabilities of the two schools and the institute. Forge Institute provides a number of workforce development courses and other offerings to advance cyber operational objectives and enhance national security efforts.
Forge Institute will collaborate with key researchers to enable access to unique research opportunities in support of national defense. This partnership is a first-of-its-kind opportunity in Arkansas and will lead to competitive research, collaboration opportunities and create a platform for economic growth and job creation, the groups said.
“We are excited to partner with UA Little Rock and UA-Fayetteville to develop innovative solutions that will help address our nation’s complex and growing cyber and national security challenges. By connecting to and building upon the existing cyber and defense sector in the state, we are establishing a foundation to drive innovation that will directly lead to high-paying jobs for Arkansans. I’m excited about this collaboration and how it will better position our state and country to defend against advanced cyber adversaries and grow the state’s economy.” said Lee Watson, Forge Institute Chairman & CEO.
Initial university collaborators will be Professor Philip Huff at UA Little Rock and Dr. Chris Farnell at UA in Fayetteville. They will focus on next-generation cybersecurity defensive capabilities for industrial control systems (ICS/SCADA) to further the protection of critical infrastructure. The joint team will leverage the capabilities of the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission (NCREPT) testbed at UA-Fayetteville, the UA Little Rock Cyber Gym and the team and capabilities of the Forge Institute.
UA-Fayetteville and UA Little Rock are designated National Security Agency (NSA) & US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Academic Centers of Excellence. In addition, UA-Fayetteville is also a U.S. Department of Energy Center of Academic Excellence.
“As Managing Director of the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission and a researcher in Cybersecurity, Department of Electrical Engineering at UA-Fayetteville, I am excited to work with the Forge Institute on advanced applied research programs,” said Farnell, Managing Director of the NCREPT.
“The Emerging Analytics Center at UA Little Rock has been working with the Forge Institute for over a year. We are pleased to extend this collaborative effort to work on some of the nation’s most challenging cybersecurity artificial intelligence problems. This collaboration will enable access to applied research opportunities for Arkansas students and research faculty,” said Huff, Professor of Cybersecurity, Department of Computer Science.