(Released 8 June 2015) Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) today announced the selection of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as the lead institution to establish a new Critical Infrastructure Resilience (CIRC) Center of Excellence (COE). The university will be supported by a consortium of U.S. academic and industry institutions, S&T will provide CIRC with a $3.4 million grant for its first operating year.
“We are excited that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will join our family of Centers to solve complex, interdisciplinary challenges that affect our ability to make the nation’s infrastructures more resilient,” said Matthew Clark, Ph.D., director of S&T’s Office of University Programs (OUP), which manages the COE system.
S&T selected the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign through an open call for proposals and a rigorous competitive process. This is the first COE award for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The new award will provide the homeland security community a better understanding of the complex issue of managing catastrophic risks to critical infrastructure.
CIRC will collaborate with DHS S&T, DHS operational components, state and local government agencies, private sector partners, first responder agencies, and other COEs to help the United States address challenges to strengthen the resiliency of the nation’s critical infrastructures. Importantly, this COE’s research will focus on challenges for the businesses and public entities that own and operate critical assets and systems. CIRC will also contribute towards the education of both university students and professionals working within the realm of critical infrastructure resilience.
The DHS COEs were established by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to be a “coordinated, university-based system to enhance the Nation’s homeland security.” S&T’s COEs are a well-integrated network of researchers focused on specific, high-priority DHS challenges. The COEs work directly with DHS operational agencies to solve complex and difficult security problems.
For more information about OUP and the COEs, please visit www.dhs.gov/st-oup.