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UA Little Rock partners with Forge Institute, U of A to Advance Applied Research In Cybersecurity to Support National Defense

Philip Huff
Philip Huff. Photo by Ben Krain.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is partnering with the Forge Institute and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, to advance applied research in areas that support national defense, including cybersecurity.

This partnership is a first-of-its-kind opportunity in Arkansas and will lead to competitive research, collaboration opportunities, and create a platform for economic growth and job creation.

The partnership will focus on next-generation cybersecurity defensive capabilities for industrial control systems (ICS/SCADA) to further the protection of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

Initial university collaborators will be Philip Huff, assistant professor of cybersecurity at UA Little Rock, and Dr. Chris Farnell, managing director of the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission (NCREPT) testbed at U of A.

“The Emerging Analytics Center at UA Little Rock has been working with the Forge Institute for over a year,” Huff said. “We are pleased to extend this collaborative effort to work on some of the nation’s most challenging cybersecurity artificial intelligence problems. This collaboration will enable access to applied research opportunities for Arkansas students and research faculty.”

The joint team will leverage the capabilities of the UA Little Rock Cyber Gym, the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission (NCREPT) testbed at U of A, and the professional and experienced team and capabilities of the Forge Institute. UA Little Rock and U of A are designated as academic centers of excellence by the National Security Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The U of A is also a U.S. Department of Energy center of academic excellence.

This collaboration brings together the best resources, research, and capabilities of UA Little Rock and U of A, along with the unique capabilities and relationships of the Forge Institute. Forge Institute will collaborate with key researchers to enable access to unique research opportunities in support of the nation’s national defense.

“We are excited to partner with UA Little Rock and UA Fayetteville to develop innovative solutions that will help address our nation’s complex and growing cyber and national security challenges,” said Lee Watson, chairman and CEO of Forge Institute. “By connecting to and building upon the existing cyber and defense sector in the State, we are establishing a foundation to drive innovation that will directly lead to high-paying jobs for Arkansans. I’m excited about this collaboration and how it will better position our state and country to defend against advanced cyber adversaries and grow the State’s economy.”