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Central Virginia Node: 2023 Experiential Learning Program

Proposals due June 16, 2023

The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative’s Central Virginia Node (CVN) seeks proposals for experiential learning projects that provide students within CVN the essential skills and work experiences to launch successful careers in cybersecurity.

students work on computers

The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) is establishing Virginia as a global center of excellence at the intersection of security, autonomous systems, and data.

With a mission of research, innovation, and workforce development, CCI serves as a catalyst for the Commonwealth’s long-term leadership in this sector through the leadership of a central hub and four regional nodes. The Central Virginia Node (CVN) is led by Virginia Commonwealth University.

CVN seeks to support programs of experiential learning that build on the expertise of the higher education institutions that are members of the CVN network and extend experiential learning opportunities aligned with CCI to students across the Commonwealth. With this grant, CVN will support programs that are aligned with CCI’s overall mission and CVN’s focus areas.

Proposal Guidelines


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

Each faculty member can submit up to two proposals (one as a PI and one as a co-PI). Their home institution must be a member of the CVN network. Each proposal must include a Co-PI from another institution within CVN.

CVN institutions include Brightpoint (formerly John Tyler) Community College, Longwood University, Piedmont Virginia Community College, Reynolds Community College, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, and Virginia Union University.

Budgets must be approved in accordance with the home institutions' policies for external grants. 

Not eligible: PIs or co-PIs who are currently funded through CCI or CVN on three or more projects are not eligible to apply.  PIs or Co-PIs should have no more than three CCI or CVN projects running concurrently.


  • Amount of Funds to be Awarded: $200,000 to $240,000
  • Maximum Award Amount: $50,000 to $60,000 
  • Match: No match is required for this funding announcement.
  • Award Details: Awardees will receive $50,000 that can be used to support experiential learning programs.

Projects that include a Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI from a CVN Community College (such as Brightpoint, Piedmont, or Reynolds) will be eligible for an additional $10,000.

Applications from underrepresented 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.

Awardees will be required to submit periodic reporting. PIs and co-PIs are expected to participate in CVN meetings, respond to data collection requests by CCI, and may be asked to present at CCI meetings.

Any publications that result from this project must include the following statement (contract numbers will be assigned during the award process):

This work was supported (in part) by the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative, an investment in the advancement of cyber R&D, innovation, and workforce development, under the contract number xcxxx. For more information about CCI, visit the CCI website

According to the terms under which CCI is funded, the following costs are NOT allowable:

  • Costs of developing and delivering undergraduate capstone programs, except as part of the larger effort to align cyber and cyber-physical systems security-focused undergraduate program content with industry needs.
  • Portion of salaries and benefits of faculty for time spent teaching undergraduates, including teaching cyber-related courses. However, effort required for the PI to complete the proposed project is allowable. Scholarships for costs of attendance at institutions of higher education. However, tuition reimbursement for graduate students is allowable.
  • Indirect costs (IDC)
Request for Proposals Released May 16, 2023
Last Day for Q&A June 9, 2023
Proposal Deadline June 16, 2023, 5 p.m. ET
Award Notification by August 1, 2023
Project Dates  August 1, 2023 - July 31, 2024

Proposal Format

Proposals must use 1-inch margins, 11-point (Calibri or Arial font), and single-line spacing. Proposals submitted in the wrong format or missing items will be deemed incomplete and will not be considered. Follow this outline:

1. Title Page (one page): Title of proposed project, contact information for PI and Co-PIs.

Find a template of the title page format here.

2. Proposed Project (up to three pages): Description of the project: objectives, methodology, milestones, and timeline, to include:

  • Description of the project: Problem description/Need Statement, objectives, methodology, milestones, and timeline.
  • Past performance (if applicable): description of methodology, scale, success, and lessons learned from prior iterations of project
  • Discussion of the alignment of the project with CCI objectives and CVN focus areas.
  • Measures of success: key performance indicators, how success will be measured and tracked.

3. Target participants (up to two pages): Student population (individuals enrolled at institutions of higher education in the CVN network) and pre-requisites for student participation, to include: 

  • Methods to recruit and ensure successful participation of students throughout CVN.
  • Any measures taken to improve participation by under-represented groups (women and under-represented minorities).

4. Budget (one page): To include:

  • Budget items and justification.
  • Budget must include the requested amount.
  • Budget must be approved by the Office of Sponsored Programs or other offices as determined by institutions’ internal policies.

Find the Budget Template here.

5. Biographical Sketches (three pages per PI/Co-PI)

Find the Biographical Sketch template here.

Proposal Submission

Proposals must be submitted to by the project PI no later than the close of the business day Friday, June 16, 2023. All proposals must be submitted as a single PDF document. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered.

Evaluation Criteria

A panel of reviewers will score proposals according to the following criteria:

Intellectual merit

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


  • Impact to 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.
  • Quality of the experiential learning component of proposal.

Contact Information

For questions on this solicitation or technical assistance with submitting an application, contact