The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Georgia State’s Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Research Group (EBCS) nearly $300,000 for a pilot program “Evidence-based Cybersecurity-Training and Mentorship Program for Students”.

As part of the program, 60 students from throughout the Southeast will train in advanced cybersecurity research skills and match them with chief information security officers (CISO), with whom they will test tools to improve organizations’ security.

EBCS director David Maimon leads the academic side of the program with Georgia State faculty Robert Harrison, Richard Baskerville and Yubao Wu. Mentors will include members of the EBCS Advisory Board, made up of government, academia and business CISOs.

“The idea is to work closely with these CISOs, our law enforcement partners and others to produce a better, evidence-based science and employees who move the cybersecurity industry several steps forward,” Maimon said. “We will provide a supply of highly effective cybersecurity and law enforcement researchers.”

Flavio Villanustre, vice president of technology and CISO for LexisNexis Risk Solutions in Atlanta, is an adviser.

The industry will benefit when companies hire these students and apply the evidence-based cybersecurity research approach to their work, according to Maimon.

EBCS has begun recruiting mentors and will begin its student recruitment campaign in the fall.

“Georgia State, through this program, is one of the few institutions in the nation laser-focused on teaching evidence-based research to show which cybersecurity tools truly work,” Villanustre said. “It will effectively address prevalent skills gaps and, at the same time, provide opportunities for meaningful and successful careers in core roles that protect people and organizations from criminals around the world.”

The training is free to the students, who will also receive cost-of-living stipends.

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