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Illinois joins $111 million effort to create energy-efficient, resilient manufacturing systems

11/23/2020

U.S. manufacturers are one of the top targets for cyber criminals and nation-state adversaries, impacting the production of energy technologies such as electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines. Integration across the supply chain network and an increased use of automation applied in manufacturing processes can make industrial infrastructures vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will join a $111 million private-public partnership called the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), which will introduce a cybersecure energy-ROI that drives American manufacturers and supply chains to further adopt secure, energy-efficient approaches, ultimately securing and sustaining the nation’s leadership in global manufacturing competitiveness. CyManII is led by the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), which has entered into a five-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to lead a consortium of 59 proposed member institutions.

“As U.S. manufacturers increasingly deploy automation tools in their daily work, those technologies must be embedded with powerful cybersecurity protections,” said Howard Grimes, CyManII Chief Executive Officer and UTSA Associate Vice President and Associate Vice Provost for Institutional Initiatives. “UTSA has assembled a team of best-in-class national laboratories, industry, nonprofit and academic organizations to cybersecure the U.S. manufacturing enterprise. Together, we will share the mission to protect the nation’s supply chain, preserve its critical infrastructure and boost its economy.”

As part of its national strategy, CyManII will focus on three high priority areas where collaborative research and development can help U.S. manufacturers: securing automation, securing the supply chain network, and building a national program for education and workforce development.

David Nicol
David M. Nicol

“Modern manufacturing processes are automated and controlled by computers,” said David M. Nicol, CyManII Vice President for Securing Automation and the Herman M. Dieckamp Endowed Chair in Engineering at UIUC.  “It is essential that we protect those computer systems in order to ensure the safe and energy-efficient operation of those processes. We look forward to working with UTSA and our CyManII proposed members on this effort, which is of national importance.”

CyManII’s research objectives will focus on understanding the evolving cybersecurity threats to greater energy efficiency in manufacturing industries, developing new cybersecurity technologies and methods, and sharing information and knowledge with the broader community of U.S. manufacturers.

CyManII aims to revolutionize cybersecurity in manufacturing by designing and building a secure manufacturing architecture that is pervasive, unobtrusive and enables energy efficiency. Grimes says this industry-driven approach is essential, allowing manufacturers of all sizes to invest in cybersecurity and achieve an energy ROI rather than continually spending money on cyber patches.

These efforts will result in a suite of methods, standards and tools rooted in the concept that everything in the manufacturing supply chain has a unique authentic identity. These solutions will address the comprehensive landscape of complex vulnerabilities and be economically implemented in a wide array of machines and environments.

“CyManII leverages the unique research capabilities of the Idaho, Oak Ridge and Sandia National Laboratories as well as critical expertise across our partner cyber manufacturing ecosystem,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “UTSA is proud and honored to partner with the DOE to advance cybersecurity in energy-efficient manufacturing for the nation.”

CyManII’s proposed members including three Department of Energy National Laboratories (Idaho National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories), four Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, 24 powerhouse universities, 18 industry leaders, and 10 nonprofits.

This national network of members will drive impact across the nation and solve the biggest challenges facing cybersecurity in the U.S manufacturing industry.

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).