Mason to lead regional hub for national cybersecurity advanced manufacturing innovation partnership

George Mason University is poised to be named a managing member in the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), a $111 million public-private partnership led by the University of Texas at San Antonio. CyManII will have a five-year corporative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to lead a consortium of 59 proposed member institutions in introducing a cybersecure energy-ROI that drives American manufacturers and supply chains.

“CyManII represents a great step forward for U.S. and Virginia’s leadership in cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing,” says Volgenau School of Engineering Dean Ken Ball. “Mason’s well-recognized strength in cybersecurity research and its offering one of the largest cybersecurity engineering academic programs in the nation position it incredibly well to support CyManII’s ambitious five-year goals.”

As part of its national strategy, CyManII will focus on four high priority areas where collaborative research and development can help U.S. manufacturers: securing automation, securing the supply chain network, improving energy efficiency, and building a national program for education and workforce development. CyManII’s research objectives will focus on understanding the evolving cybersecurity threats to manufacturing industries, developing new cybersecurity and energy-conserving technologies and methods, and sharing information and knowledge with the broader community of U.S. manufacturers.

Mason anticipates managing and operating CyManII’s East Coast headquarters on its Arlington Campus. The headquarters will house CyManII’s primary offices, meeting space, and training facilities in the National Capital Region.

It will contain lab space and equipment to demonstrate, test, and validate CyManII’s emerging cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing technologies and products. The 13,000-square-foot facility will support robotic platforms to evaluate security vulnerabilities, especially the impact of 5G on autonomous vehicles, the power grid, and smart manufacturing.  The space will also host a robotic smart manufacturing testbed.

Mason researchers from the Volgenau School of Engineering will play key roles in CyManII’s first-year projects, including finding ways to protect manufacturing supply chains from cyber threats and designing better security into advanced manufacturing plants.

“CyManII is another step forward in Mason’s rapidly expanding leadership in the National Capital Region,” said Interim Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Economic Impact Aurali Dade. “We expect to leverage our many partnerships with the area’s technology leaders to grow advanced manufacturing here.”

CyManII is funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) and co-managed with the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER).