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2024: Addressing Inclusion and Accessibility in Cybersecurity

Proposals due March 1, 2024, 5 p.m. ET

CCI seeks proposals for seed grants for research projects focusing on inclusion and accessibility in cybersecurity, with the goal of expanding research through larger, externally funded projects.

Watch an information session on the call for proposals
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CCI is dedicated to improving and addressing inclusion, accessibility, and diversity in cybersecurity on a variety of fronts, from the composition of the cybersecurity workforce to the design of technology and systems that affect daily life. 

With this call for proposals, CCI will create a transdisciplinary response that includes physical, cognitive, financial, and emotional vulnerabilities. Examples include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Accessible and secure digital protection.
  • Skin tone or gender bias in artificial intelligence.
  • Online deception of vulnerable populations.
  • Secure systems that can be used by people with disabilities and social and/or economic challenges.  
  • To produce seminal contributions to address inclusion, accessibility, and diversity issues that are specifically related to cybersecurity.
  • To use the program’s seed funding to pursue continuation of the awarded project’s impact, including but not limited to seeking additional funding from federal and state agencies, foundations, and the private sector. 
  • To contribute to workforce development in cybersecurity with cross-disciplinary domain knowledge.
  • To explore opportunities for innovation (commercialization, entrepreneurship, etc.) at the intersection of cybersecurity and accessibility and inclusion.

We strongly encourage collaboration between researchers in computer science, engineering, and mathematics with those in such areas as social science, life science, health science, public policy, law, humanities, inclusion and accessibility, and other relevant disciplines.  

Applications from under-represented groups are particularly welcome, as are applications from researchers who have not previously engaged with CCI. Women, under-represented minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

CCI is funding the program, which is designed with input from the CCI Inclusion and Diversity Committee. 

Learn more about CCI, including member institutions and researchers.

Proposal  Guidelines

Who Can Serve as Principal Investigator (PI): Researchers and faculty members at public institutions in the CCI Network who are deemed eligible by their home institution to serve as a PI on an external grant are eligible to apply.

Multi-university and transdisciplinary collaborations are encouraged but not required. In multi-university collaborations, one Principal Investigator must be identified as the lead, and the grant will be made to their home institution.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Institution: There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI:  An eligible researcher can participate on at most two proposals in this call, and can submit at most one proposal as Principal Investigator.


Maximum Award Amount: We anticipate funding proposals with a budget that does not exceed $50,000. Budgets should be proportional to the anticipated scale of impact.

Award Conditions: Successful applicants are expected to participate fully in the activities of CCI in such areas as:

  • Providing materials needed for reports.
  • Participation in CCI meetings.
  • Responding to data-collection requests by CCI. 

All publications and presentations resulting from the grant should acknowledge support from the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI).

The PI is responsible for submitting periodic reports (every 6 months, and a final report) to CCI. Guidelines for format and content for these reports will be provided.

The PI must also agree to respond to periodic CCI surveys for the two years following the conclusion of the project; the objective is to track additional work that is enabled by the seed grant.

Unacceptable costs include:

  • Indirect costs (IDC).
  • Costs to develop and deliver undergraduate programs or courses
  • Scholarships for costs of attendance at institutions of higher education.
Request for Proposals Released Jan. 8, 2024
Information Session Jan. 24, 2024, 1 p.m.
Last Day for Q&A Feb. 16, 2024
Proposals Due March 1, 2024, 5 p.m. ET
Award Notification May 1, 2024
Project Dates May 1, 2024, to May 31, 2025


Proposal Format

Proposals must use one-inch margins, 11-point font or larger (Arial or Helvetica) and single-line spacing. Follow this outline: 

1. Title page (one page): Title of the proposed project, name, affiliation, and contact information for Principal Investigator (PI) and co-Principal Investigators (co-PIs), if any. Find an example of the title page format at the bottom of this page.

2. Proposed Project (up to three pages): Short description (200 to 300 words) written for a general audience. Your proposal should also include:

  • Outline: Include objectives, methodology, milestones, and timeline.
  • Alignment with CCI objectives: The research topic must align with inclusion and diversity issues in the cybersecurity field.
  • Methodology: Explain how the project will address inclusion, accessibility, and diversity issues in cybersecurity.
  • Follow-up: Detail tangible next steps of this seed grant. Cite specific programs that could expand the work, such as funding agencies, partnerships with philanthropic organizations, foundations, intellectual property, and entrepreneurship opportunities.
  • Awareness: Discuss strategies to disseminate your findings to researchers and/or the broader public, including presentation of the results of the project in public exhibitions.
  • Impact: Social, economic, and/or cultural effect of the project, in particular, its impact on Virginia.

3. Budget (one page)

  • A detailed budget and one-page justification must be included. Please confirm the ability to utilize all potentially awarded funds by June 30, 2025.
  • Travel should be included to support the PI’s and team members’ attendance at the annual CCI Symposium, tentatively scheduled for April 2025 in Richmond.
  • Indirect costs are not allowed.

4. Biographical sketches: Up to three pages for each investigator, using NSF format.

Proposal Submission

Submit proposals to no later than March 1, 2024, by the close of business day (5 p.m. ET). All proposals must be submitted as a single PDF document with the subject “CCI CFP Addressing Inclusion/Accessibility Issues in Cybersecurity” and PI Name.

Proposals and budgets should go through the appropriate approval process at the PI’s institution. For example, many universities require researchers to include a proposal and budget that have been approved in the standard Office of Sponsored Programs (or your institution’s equivalent) pre-award procedure. Please consult the PI’s node director to confirm the process. 

Contact information of CCI node directors:

Evaluation Criteria

A committee will review the proposals and make funding recommendations. Evaluation criteria include:

  • Strong intellectual merit related to cybersecurity that addresses inclusion, accessibility, and diversity.
  • Relevance to the focus of the call (intersection between cybersecurity and inclusion, accessibility, and diversity).
  • Tangible outcomes and likelihood of additional impact in innovation, research, and/or workforce development, through follow-up activities listed in the proposal. Cite specific programs that could fund and expand the work, including funding agencies, partnerships with philanthropic organizations, foundations, intellectual property, and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Specific questions concerning this call for proposals and the requirements set forth herein should be directed in writing to

Title Page Format Example

Project Title:

Project Abstract (up to 250 words):

Total Requested Amount:

Requested Amount per Institution:   

Name, Title, and Mailing Address for Primary Contact at Each Institution Requesting Funding:

Project Investigators:

PI Name Institution Department Email