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Cyber as a Service

Rolling submissions accepted

CCI seeks proposals for Cyber as a Service projects to enhance students’ skills to enter the cybersecurity workforce on graduation and benefit the local economy.

perso in room full of computer screens

Projects, performed primarily by students, should provide a cyber service (e.g., penetration or pen testing, cyber risk analysis) to Virginia small businesses or not-for-profits in the same county as the institution of higher education.

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

CCI’s definition of a small business is in alignment with the Small Business Administration (SBA) definition.

Proposal Guidelines


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

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 PI.


We anticipate funding proposals with a budget that does not exceed $15,000. Budgets should be proportional to the anticipated scale of impact. 

Indirect costs (IDC) aren’t allowed.

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 CCI. Grant award letters will supply an example of this acknowledgement.

According to the terms under which CCI is funded, the following costs are not allowed:

  • Costs of developing and delivering undergraduate capstone programs.
  • Portion of salaries and benefits of faculty for time spent teaching.
  • Scholarships for costs of attendance at institutions of higher education.

Project Requirements

  • Projects must provide a cyber service to a locally owned and operated business (e.g., pen-testing, cyber risk analysis).
  • Businesses must be located in the same county as the institution where the PI receives the grant.
  • Projects must last at least one month in duration, and must take place during a normally scheduled academic term, as defined by the PI's home institution.
  • Students must be the primary service providers.
  • Businesses may not pay for the services.
  • Students must receive payment for work completed.
  • All faculty must include liability language in their programming to release CCI from any legal responsibility. Suggested language: As a participant in  the Cyber As A Service CFP, I hereby acknowledge and agree to release the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative from any liability for any damages or losses incurred during my participation.

Contribution Requirement

There is no contribution requirement.

Proposal Format

Proposals must use 1-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, abstract, 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 four pages):  Description of the project: objectives, methodology, milestones, and timeline.

  • Description of the proposed project.
  • Discussion of the alignment of the project with the CCI focus areas of workforce development and cybersecurity.
  • Anticipated impact on student.
  • Measures of success: key performance indicators, how success will be measured and tracked. 

3. Target participants (up to two pages): For the purposes of this program, student means individuals enrolled at institutions of higher education in the commonwealth. Other information to include:

  • Target student population and prerequisites for student participation.
  • Methods to recruit and ensure successful participation of students throughout the commonwealth.
  • Any measures taken to improve participation by underrepresented groups (women and underrepresented minorities).
  • Target businesses involved.
  • Methods to recruit business(es) for project.

4. Budget (up to two pages): Budget items and justification. A spreadsheet does not count toward page count.

5. Biographies: A biographical sketch (up to two pages) for each PI and co-PIs, using the National Science Foundation (NSF) format.

This is now a rolling CFP that opens on Jan. 15, 2024. Proposals are welcome on a rolling basis.

Proposal Submission

The proposal must be submitted via email to with the subject line reading: LastName_Institution_CyberAAS2023.

All proposals must be submitted as a single PDF document.

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 which have been approved in the standard Office of Sponsored Programs’ (or your institution’s equivalent) pre-award procedure.

Evaluation Criteria

A committee, including representatives from CCI, will review the proposals and make funding recommendations. Evaluation criteria will include:

Intellectual merit:

  • Alignment with CCI goals, including preparing students to enter the cyber workforce and helping Virginia retain that workforce.
  • Added value to Commonwealth students and employer.
  • Clear performance and evaluation metrics proposed for the project.
  • Track record of the team involved and the likelihood of achieving the stated goals.


  • Impact on the competitiveness of the Commonwealth in workforce development at the intersection of cybersecurity, autonomy, and data.
  • Cost per student involved in the training.
  • Improvements in diverse and inclusive representation.

Specific questions concerning this CFP and the requirements set forth herein should be directed in writing to the email address: with the subject line reading: QuestionRe: CyberAAS2023

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