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2 CS Researchers Awarded Jump Start Awards

By: Bel Huston | October 22, 2021

Seventeen faculty and staff projects will receive about $5 million in Jump Start funds to advance UCF’s impact under President Alexander N. Cartwright’s 2021-22 Strategic Investment Program. CECS researchers will receive $1.5M of the awards.

“I am delighted that we were able to fund so many strong proposals and only wish that we had the resources to support more of them,” says Michael D. Johnson, UCF’s interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, in announcing the awards.

The Jump Start Fund is one of three funds the president made available as part of his investment program to help position UCF as the world’s leading public metropolitan research university. The program will award up to $50 million this fiscal year to projects proposed by faculty and staff that can elevate UCF’s academic excellence, student success and impact.

The initiative results from a new strategic budgeting approach by Cartwright after he became president last year, reallocating some funds to give UCF a new avenue for enhancing academics and student success.

The Jump Start Fund focuses on funding one-time projects or purchases that will amplify UCF’s impact. Proposals could address a variety of needs from research infrastructure and facilities renovations under $2 million to equipment, new programs, or temporary staff among others.

The Academic Excellence Fund will distribute $8.5 million recurring funds and $15 million in non-recurring funds. The Student Success Fund will award $1.5 million in recurring funds. The winners will be announced later. All three funds involve a review process leading to final decisions by the president and provost.

Seventy Jump Start proposals were submitted with more than 330 faculty and staff collaborating on the projects altogether.

The CS recipients are Paul Gazzillo and David Mohaisen

Lead: Paul Gazzillo, assistant professor, Department of Computer Science

$100,000, with $50,000 match

Advancing Interdisciplinary Cyber Security and Privacy Research

Attacks on water treatment plants, the national pipeline and government and private businesses are increasingly common today, posing a threat to individuals and to national security. UCF has the expertise to tackle these threats with faculty in various colleges and within the Cyber Security and Privacy cluster. UCF is also home to award-winning student teams focused on keeping our networks safe. But to truly innovate solutions to the constantly emerging threats, UCF needs a new kind of physical space. The award money will be used to renovate an existing computer lab into a first-of-its-kind space at UCF that will support the interdisciplinary approach needed for advanced solutions. The lab will include:

a sensory suite for comprehensive and real-time human state estimation, which will include eye-tracking,
physiological monitoring, and other biometric devices needed for cognitiv and behavioral research,
cyber-analytics hardware and software platforms, used by cyber-security practitioners and for training cyber-defense professionals, and
computational resources for data analytics and real-time data collection from the sensory measurement equipment and cyber-defense platforms.
The outcome is expected to translate into more research funding for UCF, a better prepared workforce and holistic solutions for problems that could potentially cripple our national economy and security.

Lead: David Mohaisen, associate professor, Department of Computer Science

$140,000, with $35,000 match

Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Privacy at the University of Central Florida

Already a leader in cyber security and privacy research and education, this project will launch a new online master’s in cybersecurity and privacy at UCF to meet the exceedingly growing demands. The main goal of this proposal is to aid in the development of high-quality online course content that would not be possible with the currently available resources. With the rise in need for cybersecurity experts, this program is expected to deliver workforce-ready graduates that will not only work in this field, but also lead it.

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