While a “eureka” moment might strike in a bathtub, it doesn’t usually start there.

To pave a path toward cyber discoveries and technologies, the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) in Southwest Virginia is investing in researchers working at the intersection of data, autonomy, and security. The initiative opened its next call for proposals, Cybersecurity Research FY24, earlier this month. Research proposals are due June 9.

The projects listed below are supported in part by these CCI Cybersecurity Research awards. They are advancing scientific understanding and plugging students into active research labs while also landing external grants and stimulating new opportunities.  

Securing satellite internet

CCI researchers target faster, safer, more reliable internet coverage by connecting satellite mega constellations.

Team leadership:
Jonathan Black: professor in the  Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering and co-director of the Center for Space Science and Engineering Research (Space@VT); Samantha Parry Kenyon: research associate in aerospace and ocean engineering and Space@VT.

Exploring pathways to inherently secure quantum networks

By leveraging the behavior of physics at the quantum level, CCI researchers are examining how quantum networks could revolutionize cybersecurity.  

Team leadership:
Sophia Economou, T. Marshall Hahn Chair in Physics in the College of Science and director of the Center for Quantum Information Science and Engineering; Edwin Barnes, professor of physics; Jamie Sikora, assistant professor of computer science in the College of Engineering.

Modeling the Virginia Tech smart grid of the future

CCI researchers are simulating how a 5G-enabled Virginia Tech microgrid can integrate new solar panels, fend off cyberattacks, and store energy for use in a power outage.

Team leadership:
Chen-Ching Liu: American Electric Power Professor and director of the Power and Energy Center in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering; Ali Mehrizi-Sani: associate professor in electrical and computer engineering.

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