KU gets $4.7M grant to train future government cybersecurity workers

With a $4.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Kansas University School of Engineering will launch a program specifically to educate future government cybersecurity workers.

The five-year grant will establish a “CyberCorps: New Scholarship for Service Program” at KU, to be called Jayhawk SFS for short, KU announced Wednesday.

Participants will receive scholarships for tuition and fees, plus stipends of $22,500 for undergraduate students and $34,000 for graduate students, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. In exchange, they must serve a federal, state, local or tribal government organization in an information assurance position for a period equivalent to the length of the scholarship.

Bo Luo, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, will be the program leader at KU. He said the SFS program addresses a nationwide shortfall in highly expert cybersecurity personnel.

“Cybersecurity is extremely critical,” Luo said in a news release from KU. “This grant is a very small portion of that shortage, supporting 36 students. That’s far from what is needed, but this is part of a national program — and KU is proud to be part of it. All together, CyberCorps will provide thousands of graduates with cybersecurity expertise. Ours is one of the leading efforts.”

Luo added that the Jayhawk SFS program would recruit transitioning soldiers and veterans. Michael Denning, director of the Office of Graduate Military Programs at KU, will act as a key liaison for veteran recruits.