MIT Lands Big Cybersecurity Funding


MIT has landed big support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to establish an initiative aimed creating a cybersecurity policy framework. MIT will receive a $15 million cash injection from the foundation for what is being called the MIT Cybersecurity Policy Initiative (CPI).

The foundation is supporting similar academic efforts at Stanford and UC Berkeley as well, with the goal of jump-starting cyber policy research as a field. The foundation wants to build a “marketplace of ideas” around cybersecurity including how to protect hardware and user information while supporting privacy, free expression and broader public interest.

In total the awards come to approximately $65 million over the next five years, the largest ever private commitment to this field.

“Choices we are making today about Internet governance and security have profound implications for the future. To make those choices well, it is imperative that they be made with a sense of what lies ahead and, still more important, of where we want to go,” says Larry Kramer, president of the Hewlett Foundation in a statement. “We view these grants as providing seed capital to begin generating thoughtful options.”

Each of the three universities will take complementary approaches to addressing this challenge. MIT’s CPI will focus on establishing quantitative metrics and qualitative models to help inform policymakers. Stanford’s Cyber-X Initiative will focus on the core themes of trustworthiness and governance of networks. And UC Berkeley’s Center for Internet Security and Policy will be organized around assessing the possible range of future paths cybersecurity might take.

MIT says it plans to take an interdisciplinary approach to solving these problems. Other state’s like Maryland and Virginia have also begun leveraging their research teams to do more in the area of cybersecurity research.