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NSA-UT partnership's vision for cybersecurity ecosystem starts with new research center

State: Maryland

Region: Mid-Atlantic

Agency: Dept. of Defense

National Security Agency (NSA) Technology Transfer Program

A first-of-its-kind agreement between the National Security Agency (NSA) and the University of Texas (UT) System is a key factor in the development of a new $90 million facility for data science and cybersecurity research at the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA), expected to open in January 2023.

The School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC) is part of a larger plan in which UTSA, along with more than 40 private and public-sector partners, will create a powerful ecosystem to tackle the nation's greatest cybersecurity threats. 

The umbrella Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) standardizes terms and conditions for specific joint work plans across the 14-institution UT System, improving the agility and responsiveness of collaborative research projects. Joint work plans can be structured and approved within weeks, to be more responsive to Agency needs and more closely mirroring the semester-by-semester cadence of higher education engagement.

The agreement will also allow NSA to help a wide range of stakeholders meet shared national security needs. Many of the NSCC's private and public partners specifically cited the importance of closer collaboration with NSA and other federal agencies in coordinating responses to shared threats and challenges.

The center has provided a $100-million boost to the local technology ecosystem, which includes more than 1,000 technology businesses, 35,000 information technology workers, and an annual economic impact of approximately $12 billion.

Federal agency collaboration is a vital part of this ecosystem, with current federal cyber operations in San Antonio accounting for more than 7,000 military and civilian jobs. It also supports broader regional and statewide economic development objectives, which identify cybersecurity as a key economic driver throughout the region. 

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