FINS enters into an Education Partnership Agreement with NSA

The University of Florida (UF) has entered into an Education Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the National Security Agency (NSA).  The partnership will seek to enhance Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) education at UF by enabling technical exchanges, as well as the sharing of educational materials and equipment between the two entities. Moreover, as a result of this agreement, any UF student or faculty would have access to a wide pool of resources and expertise – all while gaining invaluable experience working.

A key player in this engagement from UF will be the Florida Institute for National Security (FINS), led by Dr. Damon Woodard, a professor in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering’s (HWCOE) Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). This partnership will complement several of FINS’ key workforce development initiatives, including the Clearable Talent Pipeline (CTP). Kicked off this spring semester with a diverse cohort of 15 students from various UF departments within the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering (HWCOE), the initiative seeks to cultivate a cohort of top-notch, domestic undergraduate students with backgrounds in AI research to help address the human-talent deficit in this arena, as detailed in The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI)’s Final Report (March 2021).

“This partnership will cultivate a wellspring of talent and innovation, bridging the gap between academic research and practical applications in intelligence and cybersecurity. It is one of multiple FINS initiatives to empower the next generation of leaders in national security” said Dr.  Woodard.

FINS is an interdisciplinary, cross-curricular entity that is galvanizing the robust research, education, and professional development efforts in AI already underway at UF towards the development of deployable, applied AI and data science-based solutions in support of the most prevailing national security challenges.  

The National Security Agency leads the U.S. Government in cryptology that encompasses both signals intelligence (SIGINT) insights and cybersecurity products and services and enables computer network operations to gain a decisive advantage for the nation and our allies. Moreover, the NSA also helps cultivate the next generation of experts in science, technology, engineering, math, language, and analysis to broaden the pool of skilled cybersecurity professionals who can protect the nation from cyberattacks.