UTSA Launches National Security Collaboration Center | Texas Public Radio

UTSA Launches National Security Collaboration Center

Apr 17, 2018

Credit Ryan E. Poppe / Texas Public Radio

The University of Texas San Antonio is often found near the top lists for cybersecurity academics. In a move to capture more research dollars, projects, and internships for its 2,500 cyber security students, UTSA announced Monday the official opening for its National Security Collaboration Center.

University officials want a place where academia, government and the private sector converge to conduct research, launch projects, and generally cross-pollinate.

A big part of that will be a physical location. The university has been planning the center for more than a year, but didn’t wait for a building.

“Yeah, we’re open for business,” said Bernard Arulanandam, interim vice president of research.

Arulanandam was in Washington D.C. trying to secure more partnerships from federal agencies and private companies. Nonprofit researcher Noblis and defense contractor Raytheon are just two of the 15 companies that Arulanandam listed as official partners.

Despite not having a building, and the university planning on securing funding throughout this year, it isn’t just a symbolic announcement, Arulanandam said.

“We have applied projects through the Army Research Lab, the National Security Agency, and we have some projects with our private partners as well,” he said.  

To secure more collaborators, UTSA is leveraging its existing research agreements with the Army Research Lab that it signed more than a year ago, as well as the NSA.

Both organizations have signed on as partners, according to Arulanandam, and he credited the research agreements as laying the foundation of the arrangement.

“This opens up opportunities to accelerate engagement with the NSA,” said Michelle Atchison, associate vice chancellor of federal relations for the University of Texas system in an interview shortly after the umbrella agreement, covering all 14 UT campuses, was signed last August.

Atchison said the cooperative research and development agreements with NRA and Army Research Lab streamline the process to collaborating with civilian organizations. The Army now colocates some researchers on campus, and the NSA has a visiting professor there.

Paul Flahive can be reached at paul@tpr.org or on Twitter @paulflahive