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Cybersecurity Research


The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) is establishing Virginia as a global center of excellence at the intersection of intelligence, autonomy, and security. With a mission of research, innovation, and workforce development, CCI serves as a catalyst for the commonwealth's long-term leadership in this sector through the collaboration of a central hub and four regional nodes. Virginia Tech (VT) leads the CCI Southwest Node. The Cybersecurity Research Program exists to fuel major research thrusts via diverse approaches and teams, furthering CCI’s role in a Commonwealth-wide ecosystem of innovation excellence in cybersecurity.

Focus areas should be within the intersection of data, autonomy, and security. The CCI Southwest Node has a particular emphasis on cybersecurity related to fast, secure, and customizable communications systems and technologies, including 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), defense-in-depth solutions, emerging technologies (such as NextG and quantum algorithms) and cryptographic protocols, applications in transportation, energy, space, autonomous systems, manufacturing, and agriculture. An objective of this program is to seed efforts to generate research in support of larger-scale externally-funded efforts and IP. Multi-institutional or multi-disciplinary teams are encouraged.

This call for proposals is released simultaneously with one for cybersecurity workforce development. Separate calls for proposals in the following areas are anticipated: human factors, privacy, ethics, and global security in society, in collaboration with Virginia Tech’s Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment and Tech4Humanity initiative; quantum information science and engineering, in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Center for Quantum Information Science and Engineering. Faculty may apply to more than one program.

CCI Southwest Virginia includes Radford University, University of Virginia at Wise, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech, Liberty University, Danville Community College, The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research New College Institute, Mountain Empire Community College, New River Community College, Patrick and Henry Community College, Southwest Community College, Virginia Highlands Community College, Virginia Western Community College, and Wytheville Community College. The larger CCI network includes 41 academic institutions.


The PI must be from a public institution of higher education in the CCI Southwest Virginia node and be deemed eligible by their home institution to serve as a PI on an external grant.
Women, gender and underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. PIs are advised to consider diversity and inclusion in their teams.


Anticipated award amount: up to $100,000

Period of Performance: July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023

Award conditions

A successful applicant is expected to participate fully in the activities of CCI including providing materials needed for reports, participating in CCI meetings and seminars, serving as a reviewer on other CCI Call for Proposals (CFP), and responding to CCI data collection requests. All publications and presentations resulting from the grant should acknowledge support from Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI).

Proposal format

Proposals must use 1-inch margins, 12-point Calibri font and adhere to the following outline:

1.     Title page (1 page)

  • Contact information for Principal Investigator (PI) and co-PIs including titles,  institutions, and units

2.     Project description (3-5 pages)

  • Project overview and objective
  • Statement of intellectual merit
  • Statement of alignment with CCI mission
  • Explicit milestones and specific deliverables, such as external proposals or IP, should be clearly articulated to indicate how this CCI support will seed future efforts.
  • References (not included in the page count)

3.     Budget (1 page)

  • Budget items, amount, and justification
  • Travel is a required budget item, to allow PIs to attend CCI events
  • Budget must be approved by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) at the PI’s institution prior to the deadline.
  • No indirect costs allowed.

4.     Biosketches (1-2 pages each)

5.     Current & pending support

Proposal submission  

Proposals must be submitted by the PI institution’s OSP to the no later than 5:00 pm EDT on Friday, May 20, 2022. All proposals must be submitted as a single PDF document labeled PI lastname_firstname_Research_23.     

Evaluation criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by a panel of reviewers according to the following criteria:

Intellectual merit (40%)

  • Clearly defined problem/unmet need and how proposed work will address it

Broader impacts (20%)

  • Potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes, as it aligns with CCI mission

Value of the funding (20%)

  • Concrete plans to use the results from this research to secure external funding or IP

Alignment and qualifications (20%)

  • Relevance to CCI mission and suitability of team background to proposed work