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NSF Press Release



NSF PR 01-45 - May 22, 2001

Media contact:

 Bill Noxon

 (703) 292-8070

Program contact:

 Harriet Taylor

 (703) 292-4642

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

NSF Scholarship for Service Awards Announced at Information Security Colloquium
NSF director cites need for the most promising minds to focus on cyberthreats

National Science Foundation (NSF) director Rita Colwell today announced NSF's first Scholarship for Service program awards to six institutions as part of an interagency, public/private effort to meet the nationwide needs for computer security and information assurance professionals.

The new scholarships, which will be awarded through Carnegie Mellon, Iowa State and Purdue Universities, the Universities of Idaho and Tulsa, and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, California, will provide more than $8.6 million in first-year funding to educate and develop these new professionals for careers in the government or private sector.

Colwell made the announcement of NSF's scholarship awards at the 5th National Colloquium for Information System Security Education (NCISSE) being held at George Mason University's Fairfax, Virginia campus this week.

The new scholarship program responds, in part, to a 1997 presidential commission formed to answer critical computer and information system infrastructure protection issues. The commission's conclusions led to a 1998 presidential directive that cited information and communications infrastructure protection and security as a national priority. The directive set broad guidelines for meeting security challenges facing the nation. The NCISSE was formed shortly afterward from government, industry and academic representatives to address the nation's information security and infrastructure challenges.

At last year's annual colloquium event in Washington D.C., NSF was asked to take the lead in establishing the Scholarship for Service program so that colleges and universities could provide the education needed to produce a cadre of information security and assurance professionals who will commit to federal service after receiving college degrees. The National Science Board (NSB) approved an NSF plan for awarding the scholarships at the July 2000 NSB meeting. A few months later, Congress approved funding for the scholarships as part of NSF's 2001 budget.

"These scholarships will encourage young people to enter the field of information security and assurance, and give them an opportunity to put their talents to work at the front lines of government cyber security efforts," Colwell said.

Under the scholarship program, students selected by universities will be prepared to receive bachelors' degrees in information assurance and computer security. The students will have internship opportunities with federal agencies, and then upon graduation, work for the federal government on a basis of one year of service for each year of scholarship education received. The demand for information security professionals is becoming so high that government officials expect that some scholarship graduates may leave for the private sector after their initial federal commitments. However, many other graduates are expected to stay with the government, providing a cadre of young professionals to make a significant contribution to federal security programs over the long term. The federal Office of Personnel Management will manage the placement of interns and graduates from the scholarship program. The universities selected to receive the NSF scholarship monies have been named Centers for Excellence by the National Security Agency, as established by the presidential directive.

NSF will announce another series of "capacity building" awards by early summer. Some of the anticipated $1.6 million for these awards will be directed toward developing faculty instructional capabilities in information assurance and computer security. Another portion will provide many institutions not currently certified as Centers of Excellence the opportunity to develop their own information assurance programs.


For more information see: and 2001/agenda.htm

Attachment: Summary of Scholarship for Service Institutional Awards


Summary of Scholarship for Service Institutional Awards



Four-year Total Amount

Carnegie Mellon University

Scholarships to 32 master's-level students working toward interdisci- plinary degrees. Intensive seminars for current/ future faculty.
Principal Investigator: Donald McGillen


Iowa State University

Extends an existing program by expanding student capacity with 40 fellowships to graduates and undergraduates and support infrastructure.
Principal Investigator: James Davis


Naval Postgrad. School

Scholarships for 30 master's students in the science and practice of information assurance. Thesis projects explore individual topics in depth.
Principal Investigator: Cynthia Irvine


Purdue University

Scholarships for 30 graduate Students in a dual-track program leading to a Master's in computer science or interdisciplinary master's with specialization in computer security.
Principal Investigator: Eugene Spafford


University of Idaho

Support to 30 graduate/undergrad students in a research environment. Integrates students in existing Research programs into information assurance, and conducts cyber research seminars.
Principal Investigator: John Dickinson


University of Tulsa

Two-year program will produce three cohorts of students (36 total) that integrates information assurance studies, research and community outreach.
Principal Investigator: Sujeet Shenoi





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