UNH joins national cybersecurity manufacturing project

Newly formed institute to focus on secure automation, supply chains

The University of New Hampshire’s John Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center ‘could be a great test bed’ for a new cybersecurity national manufacturing institute the university has joined, says UNH Professor Brad Kinsey. (University of New Hampshire photo)

The University of New Hampshire is participating in a $11 million public-private cybersecurity partnership that officials say could advance the region’s manufacturing sector.

The university recently joined the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), which is led by the University of Texas at San Antonio and includes a five-year agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy. The goal is to bring together dozens of the most advanced institutions researching smart and advanced manufacturing, secure automation and supply chains, workforce development and cybersecurity.

The institute will focus on shoring up security of industrial infrastructures vulnerable to cyber attacks that could compromise intellectual property and jeopardize American manufacturing jobs and workers.

“If you’re a manufacturer, you really need to protect your data, whether it’s quality assurance data you send along your supply chain or intellectual property that keeps the machines on your own factory floor producing state-of-the-art products,” said Brad Kinsey, professor of mechanical engineering and UNH lead for CyManII.

As a member, UNH and industry partners will have access to funding for research in cybersecurity and manufacturing, Kinsey said.

For example, UNH’s John Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center, which Kinsey directs, “could be a great test bed for that idea of a cybersecurity manufacturing environment. We can showcase how we not only improve the manufacturing processes but also how we set up the firewalls to protect that data.”

In addition to the Olson Center, CyManII will leverage the resources of UNH’s InterOperability Laboratory as well as research strengths in software cybersecurity, wireless communication, networking, data-driven decision making, hardware cybersecurity and policy, he said.

Like the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute based in Manchester, CyManII aims to propel an area of manufacturing through collaborations among members from academia, industry, nonprofits and government, according to Kinsey. Partnerships with New Hampshire and regional industry will be an essential component to any research and UNH’s CyManII involvement stands to advance the region’s manufacturing sector, he added.

CyManII’s members include three DOE National Laboratories, four Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, 24 universities (including UNH), 18 industry leaders and 10 nonprofits. The national network will drive impact across the nation and solve the biggest challenges facing cybersecurity in the U.S manufacturing industry.

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