May 17, 2023

USCB wins $1M NSF Engines Development Award for Maritime Cybersecurity

Carol Weir, Senior Director of Communications, University of South Carolina Beaufort  /  USCB

**Press event: **2 p.m. June 9 at the USCB Cybersecurity Lab, 1100 Boundary St., Beaufort. Learn more about the University of South Carolina Beaufort's new NSF grant. USCB representatives and elected officials will speak at this press conference.

(Bluffton, South Carolina), May 17, 2023 - The University of South Carolina Beaufort has been awarded $1 million from the U.S. National Science Foundation's Regional Innovation Engines, or NSF Engines, program.
USCB is among more than 40 teams across the U.S. to receive one of the first-ever NSF Engines Development Awards, which will help partners collaborate to create economic, societal and technological opportunities for their regions.

USCB, together with 12 partners, will use the grant funds to plan for the South Coast Regional Innovation Engine, which will conduct research to understand vulnerabilities, interdependencies, and risks in the regional maritime ecosystem and develop technologies to enhance safety and security. Enhanced cybersecurity education and workforce development programs, experimentation, investment, and commercialization of products with regional and national impacts are the ultimate goals.

"The real strength of the proposal is in its partnerships spanning industry, higher education, and government agencies. The transformational power and scope of the NSF Engines grant is immense," said USCB's Chancellor Al M. Panu.

Collectively, South Carolina's port and maritime transportation system represents 10% of the state's economy and includes ports, ships, shipping lines, cargo, people, inland waterways, intermodal transfers and other elements.

The NSF Regional Innovation Engines program is a new initiative and USCB is the lead agency for this grant. Its partners are: University of South Carolina (Columbia); Clemson University; South Coast Cyber Center; The Citadel; South Carolina State University; SC Research Authority; SC Ports Authority; Palmetto Tech Bridge/Naval Information Warfare Center, Atlantic; SC Council on Competitiveness; SCCyber; Technical College of the Lowcountry; Savannah River National Laboratory; American Bureau of Shipping; Fathom5 LLC; Alerion Capital; and Material Capital Ventures.

"Intense collaboration and interdisciplinarity are needed to solve our most complex problems. The NSF Engines grant addresses head-on critical needs in maritime cybersecurity facing the state and beyond," said USCB Provost Eric Skipper, who is heading the grant.

Information security expert Rick Siebenaler of Hilton Head Island, SC is the project's CEO. COO is Warren Parker, Chairman of the South Coast Cyber Center.

The NSF Engines Developmental Awards are planning awards. They help organizations create connections for regional research partnerships and within two years prepare strong proposals for becoming future NSF Engines. These Engines can receive up to $160 million to positively impact regional economies, accelerate technology development, advance national competitiveness, and create local, high-wage jobs.

Contact: Carol Weir, Senior Director of Communications, University of South Carolina Beaufort Phone: (843) 707-6115 Email: