UNH joins $111 million public-private partnership

Monday, November 23, 2020
Overhead shot of manufacturing training center at UNH

UNH's John Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center will be a test bed for research into cybersecurity in the manufacturing environment. 2019 photo.

UNH joins dozens of the nation’s leading research institutions in the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), a $111 million public-private partnership launched Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. Led by the University of Texas at San Antonio, CyManII is a five-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that aggregates the most advanced institutions researching smart and advanced manufacturing, secure automation and supply chains, workforce development and cybersecurity.

A far cry from the sooty factory floors of the 20th century, today’s “smart” factories are powered by massive amounts of data that control, sense and manage processes and supply chains. That makes these 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.”

“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,” says 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. For example, says Kinsey, UNH’s John Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center, which he 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,” he says.

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

Faculty members likely to be involved include Kinsey, Pablo Yoon, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; Dongpeng Xu, assistant professor of computer science; Nick Kirsch, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; Bob Noseworthy, IOL chief engineer; Marek Petrik, assistant professor in computer science; Qiaoyan Yu, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Maeve Dion, assistant professor of security studies at UNH Manchester.

Like ARMI, 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. Kinsey says partnerships with New Hampshire and regional industry will be an essential component to any research, and that UNH’s CyManII involvement stands to advance the region’s manufacturing sector.

“Securing the data in our factories and across our supply chain is critical for Pratt & Whitney and will progress our advanced manufacturing efforts,” says Mike Newsky, associate director of manufacturing engineering at Pratt & Whitney’s North Berwick, Maine, facility. “We have a strong relationship with the Olson Center and are hopeful to continue collaboration in the future.”

CyManII’s 59 proposed members include three DOE National Laboratories (Idaho National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories), four Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, 24 powerhouse universities, including UNH, 18 industry leaders, and 10 nonprofits. This national network of members will drive impact across the nation and solve the biggest challenges facing cybersecurity in the U.S manufacturing industry.

“As U.S. manufacturers increasingly deploy automation tools in their daily work, those technologies must be embedded with powerful cybersecurity protections,” says Howard Grimes, CyManII chief executive officer and UTSA associate vice president and associate vice provost for institutional initiatives. “UTSA has assembled a team of best-in-class national laboratories, industry, nonprofit and academic organizations to cybersecure the U.S. manufacturing enterprise. Together, we will share the mission to protect the nation’s supply chain, preserve its critical infrastructure and boost its economy.”

CyManII is funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) and co-managed with the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER).

Jeremy Gasowski | UNH Marketing | jeremy.gasowski@unh.edu | 603-862-4465