Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology will continue to combat cybersecurity threats by training the next generation of experts in the field with a $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant will fund Missouri S&T’s computer science department’s “Scholarship for Service” master of science degree and Ph.D. students, who will specialize in cybersecurity.

After graduating, the scholarship recipients will serve at a federal agency a period of time equal to the length of their scholarship.

The project, titled “MASTER: Missouri Advanced Security Training, Education and Research,” is led by Dr. Sajal Das, the Daniel St. Clair Endowed Chair and professor of computer science at Missouri S&T. This additional grant brings the S&T program’s total to over $3 million in funding.

The MASTER program is part of the U.S. government’s CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS). Through this program, the National Science Foundation, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, issues scholarship grants to attract students to the cybersecurity field.

The scholarships are designed to increase and strengthen cybersecurity professionals that protect the U.S. government. Colleges and universities can earn the grant only if they are certified by the National Security Agency as a National Center of Academic Excellence for Information Assurance Education. Missouri S&T was the first higher education institution in the state to achieve that designation and has held the title since 2007.

“The workforce in cybersecurity is too small at the present,” says Das. “There is a huge need to develop network and system security and now, thanks to our grant, S&T computer science students can serve the U.S. through a stream program similar in style to the ROTC program we have here on campus.” 

The computer science department hopes to use this grant to promote its experiential learning opportunities. The MASTER program will also help the department recruit and retain more women and minority students.

For more information about the SFS program, visit www.sfs.opm.gov.