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University of Tulsa Forms Oklahoma Cyber Innovation Institute with Focus on Cybersecurity

With the global cost of cybercrime set to top $10.5 trillion by 2025, according to Rose Gamble, vice president for research and economic development at the University of Tulsa (TU), the university has announced plans for the new Oklahoma Cyber Innovation Institute (OCII), which will identify, test and deploy solutions to meet the threat and train personnel to fill the need for expertise in this and other areas.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has identified that "33% of home computers are infected with malicious software, 47% of American adults have had their personal information exposed by cyber criminals, and 44% of millennials fall victim to cybercrime," the university said. Cybersecurity job vacancies have already reached 3.5 million in 2023, the agency noted.

The new institute is being funded initially by a $24 million investment from the university and $12 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, with matching funds from the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

Goals for this initial funding are to:

  • Attract high-level cyber professionals;
  • Initiate workforce development from various sectors in Oklahoma;
  • Renovate or build major facilities;
  • Institute research and commercialization programs; and
  • Establish intellectual property development, tech transfer, and commercialization infrastructure in Oklahoma.

In addition, TU expects to receive $50 million-plus over five years from public and private sources.

"We are looking for corporate and public sector partners who want access to the best minds in the business," said Brad R. Carson, TU president. "Opportunities for sponsored cyber research, talent pipeline partnerships, facility development and/or entrepreneurial ecosystem support are all crucial."

According to the university, TU's Cyber Corps program has trained professionals for two decades to defend businesses and individuals from attacks. TU has Centers of Academic Excellence designations in research and in cyber defense by the National Security Agency. Since 2008, the campus has had the National Computer Forensics Institute lab, a federally funded center dedicated to training law enforcement in cybercrime investigations.

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About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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