2021 CIRI Summer Research Teams announced

6/14/2021

The Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (CIRI) is proud to once again be virtually hosting research teams as part of the DHS Summer Research Teams (SRT) Program for Minority Serving Institutions for ten weeks over the summer. Four groups of faculty and students from three different universities will collaborate with CIRI researchers and staff to conduct research throughout the summer, ending with a virtual research workshop the week of August 2nd. Zoom call with summer research team

 “The purpose of this program is to enhance scientific leadership at Minority Serving Institutions,” says Andrea Whitesell, CIRI Senior Research Program Manager. “We have hosted teams for the past 5 years and I have to say that we (the CIRI team) get just as much out of the program as do the participants. We have forged some wonderful working relationships with both the faculty and students over the years.”

Read more below about each of the research teams CIRI will be working with this summer and the projects they will be working on.

Evaluating Ontologies for Cybersecurity Workforce Development Applications

  • Home university: University of North Texas
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Dipak Pravin
  • Students: Ana Robinson, Jarod Costello
  • CIRI advisers: Jose Medina Cruz – CIRI Senior Research Program Manager, Andrea Whitesell – CIRI Senior Research Program Manager

Research summary: Working closely with CIRI staff, this group hopes to improve upon the CyberTalent Bridge (CTB) previously developed by CIRI. Specific goals include understanding how the CTB is used by current users and get their feedback, review the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education framework in how it compares to the CTB platform, map the tasks required of CTB and test the framework, find new applications for CTB through market research, and finally to research machine learning to provide recommendations for CTB moving forward.

Integration of Vehicle-Based Sensing and Vehicle Dynamic Model in Evaluating Resilience of Highway Infrastructure

  • Home university: Northern Arizona University
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Chun-Hsing Ho
  • Students: Manuel Lopez, Jr., Jimmie Devany
  • CIRI advisers: Dr. Imad Al-Qadi – Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) Director, Xiuyu Liu – ICT doctoral student

Research summary: The main goal of this group is to address current, critical issues in highway infrastructure. They will work to develop a theoretical solution for a vehicle-based sensing system that can be utilized to predict roadway roughness and evaluate the resilience of highway infrastructure systems. This work will build on the team’s previous work which resulted in the development of a cost-effective sensing system that can predict pavement conditions.

Blockchain: Harnessing Linked Distributed Ledger

  • Home university: Florida State University
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Dan Tamir
  • Students: Maria Tomasso, Kian O’Ryan
  • CIRI advisers: CDR Blair Sweigart – Chief of Modeling, Simulation, and Analytics (U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center), Dr. Joe DiRenzo – Director of Research Partnerships/Public Affairs Office (U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center)

Research summary: This research team will be working with an additional DHS Center of Excellence, the Maritime Security Center, to look at ways blockchain can be used by the Coast Guard to improve their operations. Through a comparative study, the group hopes to deliver a proof-of-concept by the end of the summer that will analyze if the Coast Guard’s operations systems could be better managed by blockchain and the cost-effectiveness of moving to such a system. Systems the groups proposes to work on could include medical records, inventory management, and evidence chain-of custody, among others.

Enhancing Cybersecurity KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) for Cybersecurity Education and Workforce Development

  • Home university: University of North Texas
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Dan Kim
  • Students: Jordon Bernot, Max Douglas
  • CIRI advisers: Casey O’Brien – ITI Assistant Director for Cyber Defense Education and Training, Andrea Whitesell -- CIRI Senior Research Program Manager

Research summary: As cyber-attacks become increasingly common and complex, cybersecurity workers need to have the skills and knowledge to deal with an ever-changing issue. This team’s goal is to map the components, functions, tasks, and roles of cybersecurity workers in order to set the industry up for future success. Their plan is to identify relationships among cybersecurity job associative components using the NICE framework, propose a framework to collect potentially new job components in priority technology areas, and finally they will use this knowledge to develop an assessment and training module for these jobs.

Throughout the summer, CIRI will take a closer look at the research teams and their work. Stay tuned for additional information. These teams are  funded through the  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Office of University Programs (OUP).