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Detroit Local NewsUniversity of Detroit Mercy received a $497,080 grant from the United States...

University of Detroit Mercy received a $497,080 grant from the United States Department of Defense (DoD)

Detroit, Michigan – The University of Detroit Mercy got a big boost with $497,080 from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to keep up its efforts with the Metro Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute, a key cybersecurity group in the region.

Department of Defense provided federal grant in 2020

This new funding adds to a hefty $1.12 million the DoD gave in 2020, which helped the university set up the institute in the first place. This institute works online to get more cybersecurity experts ready for jobs, by bringing together schools, car makers, and the DoD. They’re all working on fixing the lack of skilled folks who can protect cars and transport systems for the military and beyond.

Katherine Snyder, who’s in charge of UDM’s engineering and science college, said their car cybersecurity program is doing great because of strong ties with companies and the government, plus a solid teaching plan that’s all about getting students ready for real jobs in engineering. UDM is also using its ties with the NSA’s cyber defense program to meet the big demand for cybersecurity pros in tech and information systems. With new programs on car cybersecurity and fighting cybercrime, UDM is aiming to be a top place for learning about protecting against online threats in the area and across the country.

The University of Detroit Mercy got a $497,080 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to support UDM’s Cybersecurity Institute

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Senator Gary Peters, who got his MBA from Detroit Mercy back in ’84 and serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently visited the car cybersecurity program. He got the lowdown on what the Metro Detroit Regional Vehicle Cyber Security Institute is all about from its leaders.

“Michigan is a leader in the development of emerging autonomous vehicle technologies, and Detroit Mercy is helping to meet the growing demand for a skilled cybersecurity workforce across our automotive and defense sectors,” Peters said. “This investment will allow Detroit Mercy, along with its regional consortium members, to continue building a talent pipeline that will support our state’s workforce needs while strengthening our national defense.”

The Detroit Mercy-led group to cooperate with businesses

The Detroit Mercy-led group, which includes many colleges in southeast Michigan and the University of Arizona as a research ally, aims to make more cybersecurity engineers available through an online program built with advice from businesses.

This group is also focused on giving new skills or improving current ones in car cybersecurity, especially for people often left out, those in the military, and veterans.

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The funding comes from the VICEROY program, run by the Griffiss Institute alongside the Air Force Research Lab. The program, under the watch of the Defense Department’s research and engineering office, mixes real-world practice with academic study to prepare students for jobs needed by the military, the DoD, and their industry partners.

Detroit Mercy’s success, including the start of an online certificate in Vehicle Cyber Engineering that can lead to a master’s degree and the setup of a practical lab with virtual tech made with the University of Arizona, led to the continuation of its funding.

An advisory board with experts from business, government, the military, and schools is steering the program.

The Metro Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute is a collaboration that brings together Detroit Mercy, community colleges like Washtenaw, Oakland, and Macomb, and the University of Arizona for research support. This partnership, started in 2020, aims to boost the number of experts in vehicle cybersecurity.

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Paul Spadafora, who oversees professional engineering programs at Detroit Mercy, emphasizes the growing need for cybersecurity experts due to advancements in technology such as electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and artificial intelligence. Together with Katherine Snyder, they lead the initiative, focusing on creating a modern curriculum to prepare individuals for immediate success in this expanding sector. They aim to fill the current job gap and strengthen the country’s cybersecurity.

Detroit Mercy has been proactive in supporting students through scholarships, offering $70,000 to new students in fall 2023, with a total of $150,000 given to 17 students across various degree levels over two years.

The consortium’s educational offerings are comprehensive, including degrees from associate to doctoral levels, stackable certificates, practical lab training, and cybersecurity camps for high schoolers.

To mark these achievements, UDM is planning a ceremony to officially open the VICEROY-University of Detroit Mercy Vehicle Cyber Engineering Lab soon.

Detroit Mercy offers programs in electrical engineering and computer science, autonomous and electric vehicle and cybersecurity-related curricula, providing students a variety of undergraduate, graduate and certificate options through the College of Engineering & Science as well as the University’s Center for Cybersecurity & Intelligence Studies.

In addition to the Metro Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute, Detroit Mercy’s College of Engineering & Science leads several consortiums, including ReBUILDetroitI-RISE with U-RISE, iDRAW and Fly-CURE.

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Detroit Mercy’s commitment to helping veterans and military personnel achieve success has been recognized both locally and nationally, earning high marks from Military Friendly Schools and the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. The University has also been designated a Center of Academic Excellence by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency.