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2023 Experiential Learning Program

Proposals due April 28, 2023

The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) is seeking proposals for experiential learning projects that provide Virginia students with the essential skills and knowledge to launch successful careers in cybersecurity.

Mentor leans over student working on computer

The proposed program must benefit students at more than one CCI institution. Projects that provide students with workforce experience will be prioritized.

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.

Proposal Guidelines


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

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 up to two proposals in this call, but can submit only one proposal as PI.


We anticipate funding proposals with a budget that does not exceed $100,000 in U.S. dollars. Budgets should be proportional to the anticipated scale of impact.

Indirect costs (IDC) are not allowable.

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 allowable:

  • 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.

Contribution Requirement

There is a minimum required industry contribution of 10 to 25 percent of the proposed budget. No funds from other CCI-funded projects can be used as leverage for demonstrating commitment.

An industry partner can contribute an in-kind contribution as long as there is a monetary value associated with it. We encourage a letter of support, although it is not required.

In this call, the industry can be defined as industry, government agency, non-profit, or potential employer.

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, to include:

  • Description of the proposed experiential learning program.
  • Discussion of the alignment of the project with the CCI focus area, cybersecurity, and CCI’s workforce development mission.
  • Expected impact on students from multiple CCI institutions.
  • Measures of success, including key performance indicators, and an explanation of 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 employer sectors, sizes, and organizations involved.
  • Methods to recruit and ensure successful participation of employers throughout the commonwealth.
  • Employer contributions provided as cost-share or in-kind contributions.

4. Budget (up to two pages): To include:

  • Budget items and justification. A spreadsheet does not count toward page count. 
  • Travel should be included to support the PI’s and team members’ attendance at the annual CCI Symposium in Virginia in 2024. Date and location to be determined.

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

Request for Proposals Released March 31, 2023
Question Period Ends April 14, 2023, 5 p.m. ET
Proposals Due April 28, 2023, 5 p.m. ET
Award Notification May 26, 2023
Project Dates June 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024

Proposal Submission

The proposal must be submitted via email to no later than Friday, April 28, 2023, by 5 p.m. ET, with the subject line reading: LastName_Institution_EL CFP 2023.

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 that have been approved under the Office of Sponsored Programs' (or your institution’s equivalent) pre-award procedure.

Evaluation Criteria

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

1. 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 employers.
  • Clear performance and evaluation metrics proposed for the project.
  • Track record of the team involved and the likelihood of achieving the stated goals.

2. Impact

  • Impact on the competitiveness of the commonwealth in workforce development at the intersection of cybersecurity, autonomy, and data.
  • Long-term scalability of the program.
  • 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: EL CFP 2023

Title Page Format Example

CCI Request for Proposals: Experiential Learning in CCI

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