National Science Foundation (NSF)
07/31/20 5:00 PM Submitter's Local Time
Grants to USA institutes of higher education to develop or continue cybersecurity scholarship programs for bachelor's and master's students. Funding is intended to develop the cybersecurity workforce in order to strengthen security for local, state, and government agencies. Scholarship recipients will commit to working for an eligible agency after graduation.
Synopsis of Program:
Cyberspace has transformed the daily lives of people. Society's overwhelming reliance on cyberspace, however, has exposed its fragility and vulnerabilities: corporations, agencies, national infrastructure and individuals continue to suffer cyber-attacks. Achieving a truly secure cyberspace requires addressing both challenging scientific and engineering problems involving many components of a system, and vulnerabilities that stem from human behaviors and choices. Examining the fundamentals of security and privacy as a multidisciplinary subject can lead to fundamentally new ways to design, build and operate cyber systems, protect existing infrastructure, and motivate and educate individuals about cybersecurity. The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2018, authorizes the National Science Foundation, in coordination with the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Homeland Security, to offer a scholarship program to recruit and train the next generation of information technology professionals, industry control system security professionals and security managers to meet the needs of the cybersecurity mission for federal, state, local, and tribal governments.
The goals of the CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program are aligned with the U.S. National Cyber Strategy to develop a superior cybersecurity workforce. The SFS program welcomes proposals to establish or to continue scholarship programs in cybersecurity. All scholarship recipients must work after graduation for a federal, state, local, or tribal Government organization in a position related to cybersecurity for a period equal to the length of the scholarship. A proposing institution must provide clearly documented evidence of a strong existing academic program in cybersecurity. Such evidence can include designation by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD), in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) or in Research (CAE-R); or equivalent evidence documenting a strong program in cybersecurity.
The SFS program also supports efforts leading to an increase in the ability of the United States higher education enterprise to produce cybersecurity professionals. Funding opportunities in this area are provided via the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace - Education Designation (SaTC-EDU) and other programs (see the section "Increasing National Capacity in Cybersecurity Education" for more details.)
The SFS program provides funds to institutions of higher education for student scholarships in support of education in areas relevant to cybersecurity. Each scholarship recipient, as a condition of receiving a scholarship under the SFS program, enters into an agreement under which the recipient, upon receipt of academic degree, agrees to work for a period equal to the duration of the scholarship in the cybersecurity mission of an executive agency (as defined in 5 U.S. Code § 105) or, subject to a prior approval, in the cybersecurity mission of:
Congress, including any agency, entity, office, or commission established in the legislative branch; an interstate agency; a state, local, or tribal government; or a state, local, or tribal government-affiliated non-profit organization that is considered to be critical infrastructure (as defined in 42 U.S. Code § 5195c(e)).
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) partners with NSF in this program by providing assistance to SFS scholarship students, by coordinating students' transition into government employment, by monitoring students' compliance with program requirements, and by assessing whether the program helps meet the personnel needs of the federal government for information infrastructure protection. Grantee institutions provide scholarship support to students who compete successfully in a selection process developed by the institution, who meet the SFS eligibility criteria, and who are confirmed by OPM as qualified for employment in a cybersecurity related position.
The program's goal is a full student placement in government cybersecurity positions with at least 80 percent of scholarship recipients securing placement in an executive agency. While SFS scholarship recipients are responsible for their own job searches, the OPM/SFS program office provides several tools to aid in the job search, including annual job fairs. PIs and SFS scholarship students are expected to participate actively with OPM to secure both a summer internship and permanent placement in a federal, state, local or tribal government organization. With permission of the OPM/SFS program office, a limited number of students may be placed in National Laboratories and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs).
During the scholarship period, students must participate in meaningful summer internships. Doctoral students may be allowed to replace their summer internship with a research activity following a recommendation from their academic advisor and approval of the NSF/SFS program office. Students must also participate in other SFS activities such as conferences, workshops, and seminars. These activities are aimed at developing a community of practice that will enhance students' individual and collective skills in an area increasingly important to the security of the United States.
To be eligible for consideration for an SFS scholarship, a student must:
- Be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States;
- Demonstrate a commitment to a career in improving the security of information technology;
- Have demonstrated a high level of competency in relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities, as defined by the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework;
- Be a full-time student within three years of graduation with a bachelor's or master's degree in a coherent formal program that is focused on cybersecurity at an awardee institution; or be a research-based doctoral student.
Sophomores at community colleges are eligible for one year of support if there is a formal agreement between their community college and a four-year institution to transfer the student for two years of additional support to complete a bachelor's degree. A community college is eligible only as either a non-lead collaborating institution or a sub-awardee of the partnering four-year SFS institution. A supported student who is enrolled in a community college is allowed to pursue a degree on a less than full-time basis, but not less than half-time basis.
A focus on recruiting and retaining underrepresented minorities, women, first-generation/low-income students, persons with disabilities, or veterans is strongly encouraged. Application by and partnerships with minority institutions, as recognized by the U.S. Department of Education's list, is encouraged (see http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/edlite-minorityinst.html for a list of qualifying institutions). SFS especially welcomes proposals that will support the efforts of NSF INCLUDES to develop STEM talent from all sectors and groups of society (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/nsfincludes/index.jsp).
The program is also interested in ideas for forward-looking or unconventional activities that show real promise to have a broad national impact on cybersecurity education and workforce development, but which fall outside the SFS and SaTC-EDU program boundaries. Principal investigators who have such ideas must first discuss them with a SFS program officer. If the program officer agrees that the activities would be appropriate for consideration by the program, the program officer may encourage the submission of an unsolicited proposal.
The SFS Scholarship award supports up to three years of stipends, tuition and allowances for students in the general area of cybersecurity. The scholarships provide academic year stipends of $25,000 per year for undergraduate students and $34,000 per year for graduate students. In addition, SFS scholarships cover expenses normally incurred by full-time students in the institution, including tuition and education related fees (does not include items such as meal plans, housing, or parking); and a professional allowance of $6,000 per academic year for the SFS Job Fair and other travel, books, professional certifications etc. These shall be included in the budget under Participant Support costs.
GrantWatch ID#: 174418
Depending on the quality of proposals received, the program expects to make 8-12 scholarship awards.
A typical award might be approximately $2-4 million.
Award Ceiling: $5,000,000
Award Floor: $2,000,000
A typical award might be for five years supporting four cohort classes of five students each.
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