Hewlett Foundation announces major effort to fund cyber policy studies at FIU

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FIU has received a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to support the launch and expansion of interdisciplinary cyber policy programs.

On Wednesday, the foundation announced the large-scale grants totaling more than $20 million to four institutions, which historically serve diverse student populations: Florida A&M University in Tallahassee and Spelman College in Atlanta, two historically Black institutions; Turtle Mountain Community College, a tribal college in Belcourt, North Dakota; and FIU, a Hispanic-serving Institution.

FIU, which received a $5 million, 5-year grant, intends to build on the work of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy (JGI) The grant will bring together faculty and researchers from the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs, the College of Engineering & Computing, the College of Business, the College of Law, and the Division of Information Technology to increase interdisciplinarity in existing cyber curricula, expand interdisciplinary research, and elevate FIU as a leader in cyber policy research and workforce development.

“With Hewlett’s support and incredible network, FIU will expand its cyber teaching and research capacity and inspire FIU’s talented students into the national cyber policy workforce,” said Brian Fonseca, founding executive director of Cybersecurity@FIU and director of FIU’s Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy.

Launched in early 2014, the Hewlett Foundation’s 10-year, $150 million Cyber Initiative’s goal has been to cultivate a field of institutions with experts capable of addressing society’s most pressing cyber challenges, from encryption policy to combating ransomware to establishing norms governing conflict between nations in cyberspace, among others.

“Cybersecurity is one of the most critical issues of our time,” said Marlene Zapata, program associate with Hewlett’s Cyber Initiative and an FIU alumna. “We must continue to help build a diverse pipeline of professionals that will have the expertise to tackle today’s complex cybersecurity issues from various lenses. Cybersecurity@FIU has built an outstanding multidisciplinary program that provides students with the opportunity to gain the skills needed for the cyber field. I’m excited to see how Cybersecurity@FIU continues to grow and develop the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.”

To ensure that the cyber policy field benefits from the perspectives of people from diverse backgrounds working in relevant disciplines, the Hewlett Foundation has supported efforts such as fellowship and training programssupport for scholars, and research on the issue. These efforts are intended to increase the talent pipeline of students and leaders from diverse communities and opportunities for cyber policy scholarship that is interdisciplinary, spanning fields from computer science to law.

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