Thu | Dec 17, 2020 | 10:30 AM PST

The University of Texas at San Antonio (USTA) recently launched a $111 million public-private partnership, the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII).

The institute reached a five-year agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy for the purpose of leading 59 proposed member institutions that will introduce a cybersecure energy-ROI. 

The program will assist American manufacturers and supply chains to "adopt secure, energy-efficient approaches, ultimately securing and sustaining the nation's leadership in global manufacturing competitiveness."

The Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute 

Cybercriminals and nation-state adversaries often target U.S. manufacturers and critical infrastructure. This can impact the production of energy technologies that continue to grow in importance as the threat of global climate change rises.

As the manufacturing process and supply chain networks become more automated and integrated, more vulnerabilities to cyberattacks are opened.

CyManII has identified three high-priority areas to focus research and development to help U.S. manufacturers in preventing these cyberattacks: securing automation, securing the supply chain network, and building a national program for education and workforce development.

Howard Grimes, CyManII's CEO, shared his thoughts on how the institute can help U.S. manufacturers.

"As U.S. manufacturers increasingly deploy automation tools in their daily work, those technologies must be embedded with powerful cybersecurity protections. 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 has serious potential to evolve how manufacturers understand cybersecurity threats. Its industry-driven approach will allow all different types of manufacturers to invest in cybersecurity and achieve an energy ROI, instead of constantly spending to fix cyber issues.

CyManII proposed members and funding

The national network of members will have a tremendous impact on cybersecurity challenges the manufacturing industry faces everyday.

There are currently 59 proposed members to the institute, which include three Department of Energy National Laboratories (Idaho National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories), four Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, 24 universities, 18 industry leaders, and 10 nonprofits.