The University of North Carolina Wilmington is part of a statewide cybersecurity coalition that has received $2 million to advance education and research in the growing tech field, officials announced.
The N.C. Partnership for Cybersecurity Excellence (NC-PaCE) coalition is made up of eight state universities and community colleges including UNCW, N.C. State University, East Carolina University, N.C. A&T State University, UNC-Charlotte and Forsyth, Wake and Pitt community colleges.
The grant is from the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity located within the National Security Agency.
This coalition follows this year’s announcement of a new Bachelor of Science degree in cybersecurity at UNCW, which is the first cybersecurity undergraduate major offered in the UNC System and joins the school’s Center for Cyber Defense Education (CCDE) established in 2018.
With more businesses and agencies operating and storing their important information digitally, cyberattacks are on the rise, highlighting the importance of having skilled cyberdefense specialists, UNCW officials said in a release announcing the bachelor’s program
NC-PaCE will partner with public agencies and private businesses to address workforce gaps and establish cybersecurity as an economic development tool for the state, Ulku Clark, director of UNCW’s CCDE and program coordinator of the cybersecurity degree, said in a previous story.
Clark also talked about the current threats many businesses face when it comes to cyberattacks and the importance of having a cybersecurity plan.
In the release, Clark said the $2 million award will be aid UNCW in three ways: helping accelerate the maturation of the new cybersecurity undergraduate major offered at UNCW with the goal of graduating more students with cybersecurity skills; providing resources for expanding partnership opportunities to address defined regional cybersecurity needs at the CCDE; and providing resources for cybersecurity technology and economic development.
The coalition will also do a gap analysis and figure out what areas in cybersecurity expertise the state needs so schools can ensure that the education is focused on those areas, Clark previously said.
Leaders from the eight coalition schools will meet in November to make decisions on funding distribution. Projects that UNCW is interested in funding include Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification workshops, enhancing apprenticeship programs and developing tools for teaching enterprise cybersecurity.