Columbus State University Faculty Receive More than $400,000 in Grants from National Science Foundation

COLUMBUS, Ga­. --- The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Columbus State University more than $400,000 in grants related to cybersecurity in mobile devices.

One project for $175,000, led by professor Hoda Mehrpouyan in CSU's TSYS School of Computer Science, will develop a new set of verification tools, algorithms, and interfaces that enable secure, effective and unobtrusive management of users' private information. Protecting private information becomes specially important, since researchers estimate that 87% of Americans can be identified by name and address, if their zip code, gender, and birthday are known to intruders. A second grant, for $230,000, will be part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) project focusing on cybersecurity and mobile sensing. Students will work in tandem with the Cybersecurity Center at Columbus State, which was recently designated a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency.

The grant is supported by the Department of Defense in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF is making the award to CSU through the Department of Defense’s ASSURE program, which supports undergraduate research.

“I am eager to see the impact Columbus State University will make on students, the community, the state and our nation using the resources granted by the National Science Foundation,” said Congressman Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (GA-02). “Affecting national security to personal financial security, the advancement of cybersecurity by the supported Columbus State students will strengthen our country’s future as we face new technical developments and the challenges accompanying breakthroughs.”

“We are very proud to have the National Science Foundation support the work of our outstanding faculty," said CSU President Chris Markwood. "These kinds of nationally competitive grants serve as a tremendous validation to the caliber of our professors, and to the quality of the research being done by faculty - and the students - at Columbus State University.”

Eight undergraduate students per summer will have the opportunity to work with university faculty to learn and research about securing data in mobile computing and mobile sensing environments. The grant beneficiaries will also participate in professional development activities to learn more about careers in the field of cybersecurity.

"I'm very excited about the award given by the NSF and the Department of Defense since it provides undergraduates the opportunity to research topics that are important in the connected world we live in: everyday computing becomes more ubiquitous as it permeates into devices we use, wear or carry with us every day,” said Alfredo Perez, assistant professor of computer science and recipient of the grant. “There are important issues to address to secure the data and protect the privacy of users of these devices."