UTSA-led consortium nabs grant to boost manufacturing cybersecurity | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

A local research facility focused on the intersection of cybersecurity and manufacturing was awarded a $500,000 federal grant Monday to further its mission.

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The grant will help CyManII, the nation’s only research institute focused solely on the cybersecurity of U.S. manufacturing, begin developing a “secure manufacturing tech hub” to research new technologies, increase businesses competitiveness and grow a skilled regional workforce.

The federal government’s new Tech Hubs program is part of the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act that President Joe Biden signed into law in August 2022. The law boosts semiconductor research and manufacturing and invests in wireless technologies and their supply chains, as well as new technologies such as artificial intelligence and biotechnology. It also grows STEM opportunities across the country.

CyManII’s grant is part of a $10 billion investment to grow regional innovation and technology hubs across the country.

The institute will use the money to develop a regional consortium to help create “high-paying, high-demand jobs” and to “identify industrial security solutions that can be replicated across the nation,” JoAnn Browning — UTSA’s vice president for research, economic development and the knowledge enterprise — said in a statement.

CyManII will expand the consortium from the San Antonio and New Braunfels area to “rural and underserved communities including Fredericksburg, Kerrville, Pearsall and Uvalde,” the statement said. Established under the U.S. Department of Energy in 2020, the $111 million institute has been looking at ways to ensure the cybersecurity of manufacturing processes and supply chains.

In 2022, it began work on a $5 million facility, the 14,500-square-foot Texas Manufacturing Transformation Hub, on Port San Antonio’s Southwest Side campus.

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Cybersecurity among the nation’s “increasingly connected manufacturing ecosystem is a matter of national security,” said Howard Grimes, CEO of CyManII. “To remain globally competitive, Texas manufacturers need accessible cybersecurity technologies at scale.”

Local congressional representatives lauded the announcement. 

“With the biggest pool of certified cybersecurity experts outside of Washington, D.C., and a rich tradition of manufacturing and entrepreneurship, San Antonio is ready to become a global center of innovation,” U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, said in a statement. “Through UTSA’s leadership, the Secure Manufacturing in South Texas Strategy Development Consortium will use this grant to create good-paying jobs in South Texas and kick-start a new era of American manufacturing excellence.”

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, issued a similar statement, saying that the consortium “will help transform South Texas into a new cybersecurity and technology manufacturing hub within the United States.”


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