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UNF School of Computing receives $500K NSA award for healthcare cybersecurity curriculum development

Part of a coalition led by the University of Louisville to train transitioning military personnel and first responders

The University of North Florida School of Computing has been selected to receive a $500K grant from the National Security Agency (NSA) to develop curriculum and train transitioning military personnel and first responders in healthcare cybersecurity systems.

UNF’s team will be part of a coalition led by the University of Louisville who received $6 million in federal funding to develop a healthcare cybersecurity online certificate program. The pilot phase of the Healthcare Cybersecurity Workforce Certificate will provide training for 200 first responders and military veterans. 

Led by Dr. Sherif Elfayoumy, UNF School of Computing director and professor, the UNF project will assist in the development of a curriculum that will focus on cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence, blockchain, Internet of things and machine learning. The curriculum will employ innovative training tools including gamification and make use of anonymous datasets and use-cases provided by industry partners.

“I look forward to helping our nation’s military heroes and first responders launch their civilian career in cybersecurity, an area of growing national importance,” said Elfayoumy. “It is exciting that this project will also focus on healthcare, which aligns well with the new UNF MedNexus initiative.”

The program will be completely free during the two-year pilot phase. Elfayoumy and researchers will start by developing a unique, three-level training program that prepares veterans and first responders acquire industry recognized badges. While the curriculum is focused on the healthcare industry, the participants will learn skills that can be applicable to multiple industries and will earn industry badges from Google, IBM, Microsoft and others. The research team will also form partnerships within the industry to integrate hands-on experiences in the curriculum. 

This project complements the UNF School of Computing recent successes in receiving the NSA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designation as a program of academic excellence in cyberdefense and establishing the PAX Technology Cybersecurity Lab.

This project funding was due to a provision in the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, authored by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, that directed the NSA to partner with universities to develop a cybersecurity workforce.