UCI joins CyManII to improve national manufacturing cybersecurity collaboration

Smart Manufacturing

The California Institute for Telecommunications & Information Technology at the University of California, Irvine announced Friday that it is joining the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), a national organization focused on improving cybersecurity and energy efficiency in American manufacturing, to develop wireless platforms to promote sustainable factory processes

As U.S. manufacturers are among the top targets for cybercriminals and nation-state adversaries, cyberattacks on their critical infrastructure impacts production of energy technologies such as electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines. Integration across the supply chain network and increased use of automation applied in manufacturing processes can make industrial infrastructures vulnerable to cyberattacks.

UCI’s Calit2 and 24 other universities will collaborate to develop tools, technologies and guidance for protecting manufacturing, supply chains, factory automation and information, and for manufacturing workforce development. CyManII will transform U.S. advanced manufacturing and make manufacturers more energy efficient, resilient and globally competitive, in its bid to protect American manufacturing jobs and workers.

Proposed partners in the consortium include Idaho National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories; four manufacturing institutes; 24 other universities; 18 industry leaders and 10 nonprofits.

Calit2 scientists and engineers will seek to develop wireless digital transformation platforms to help U.S. manufacturers become more competitive while fighting climate change and continuing to sustain their growth. These digital approaches can transform small and medium-sized manufacturers in business and technical practices related to improving work productivity, decreasing energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste, boosting logistic and supply chain management, and protecting proprietary information and privacy.

“Our role is to align smart manufacturing with cyber secure manufacturing and renewables to provide truly sustainable solutions,” said Calit2 director G.P. Li, UCI professor of electrical engineering and computer science in a press statement.

UTSA will lead the consortium of 59 proposed member institutions. UTSA was designated by The University of Texas System to lead its CyManII proposal, based on the university’s core expertise in cybersecurity and the breadth and depth of its national relationships. Funded by the DOE, CyManII brings together advanced institutions in smart and advanced manufacturing, to secure automation and supply chains, workforce development and cybersecurity.

In addition to US$70 million in federal funding, the institute will be supported by an additional $41 million in cost-sharing funds from its partners, including UT System’s commitment of $10 million, bringing the total five-year investment to over $111 million.

As part of its national strategy, CyManII will focus on three high-priority areas where collaborative research and development can help U.S. manufacturers, by securing automation, protecting supply chain networks, and building a national program for education and workforce development.

Last month, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) joined CyManII, and will work as a member to protect digital automation platforms in manufacturing facilities and manage CyManII’s cybersecurity portfolio. The laboratory will also oversee national road mapping efforts to organize the member institutions’ assets and capabilities and address various technology concerns.

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