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National security agency grants $500k grant to UNF School of Computing

Aloe Suarez, Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The National Security Agency (NSA) selects the University of North Florida’s School of Computing to receive a $500,000 grant to revamp training programs for military personnel and first responders in “healthcare cybersecurity systems,” according to a press release.

The hefty grant is part of a coalition between UNF and the University of Louisville to create an online healthcare cybersecurity certificate program, starting with a two-year pilot training phase for 200 military veterans and first responders.

This award came after the NSA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) entrusted the UNF School of Computing for its cyber defense program and initiated the PAX Technology Cybersecurity Lab.

“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 Dr. Sherif Elfayoumy, professor and director of the UNF School of Computing. “It is exciting that this project will also focus on healthcare, which aligns well with the new UNF MedNexus initiative.”

With federal funding, the program will be entirely free for the opening phase’s duration, where it will focus on innovative technology, which encompasses artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

All information within the curriculum applies to multiple industries not related to healthcare. Participants will receive badges from large companies, such as Google, IBM, and Microsoft.

Researchers from UNF and UL will incorporate tools that include anonymous datasets, industry provided use-cases, and gamification, where tasks are turned into games. 

The funding is thanked by the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that instructs the NSA to expand a cybersecurity workforce with universities.

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National security agency grants $500k grant to UNF School of Computing