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Call for Proposals: CCI Cybersecurity Research Collaboration Funding


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.

This CCI Cybersecurity Research Collaboration funding program aims to create cross-pollination opportunities for the cybersecurity researchers to collaborate across the Commonwealth and to develop a Commonwealth-wide ecosystem of innovation excellence in cybersecurity.


Who May Serve as PI:
Individual who holds a regular tenured or tenure-track or research professor position at any CCI member public institution of higher education is eligible to serve as a PI of a proposal.

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

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI: 1
An eligible Principal Investigator may submit only one proposal to the program.Investigators can serve as co-PI on up to two proposals.

Other Requirements:
Each project must involve participating public institutions of higher education from at least two CCI nodes.


Anticipated Funding Amount:

Award Amount:

Contribution Matching Requirement:
The awardee must provide a 1:1 contribution. While indirect costs (IDC) are NOT eligible costs in the proposals submitted in response to this RFP, unrecovered IDC can be used as a matching contribution. No funds from other CCI-funded projects can be used as a matching contribution.

Award Conditions:
Successful applicant is expected to participate fully in the activities of CCI including providing materials needed for reports, participation in CCI meetings, and responding to data collection requests by the CCI. All publications and presentations resulting from the grant should acknowledge support from Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI).


Event Date
Request for Proposals Released September 30, 2020
Last Day for Q&A October 14, 2020
Proposals Due October 30, 2020, 5:00 PM Eastern Time
Award Notification December 15, 2020
Project Dates January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021


Proposal Format

Each CCI node has its research focus areas. They include:

  • Central Virginia: Cyber physical systems, autonomous systems, IoT as they apply to Smart Cities and Communities as well as Medical Device Security.
  • Coastal Virginia: The intersection of cyber physical systems and artificial intelligence in maritime, defense, and transportation sectors. Projects are strongly encouraged to include research faculty hired with CoVA CCI funds.
  • Northern Virginia: Cybersecurity in national defense, transportation, electric/power distribution, and manufacturing sectors. Also, the impact of human behavior on cyber security and resilience of cyber systems to human behavior. Proposed projects should relate to a strategy and initiative(s) in these areas as further detailed in the CCI NoVa Node Strategic Plan.
  • Southwest Virginia: Cybersecurity related to wireless communications and application domains such as transportation, power systems, manufacturing, autonomous vehicles, and agriculture; cybersecurity and emerging technologies, such as quantum computing; and cryptography.
A proposed project must be closely related to the focus areas of the PI’s node. Please contact your CCI node director if you have any questions about the focus areas. Proposals must use 1-inch margins, 12-point font and single line spacing. The required proposal format is outlined below.
  • Title page (Please use the one provided with this RFP)
  • Proposed Research (up to 6 pages)
    • Rationale: Discussion of the technical background and engineering/scientific justification. This should include project objectives and intellectual merit of theproposed work.
    • Research Plan: What exactly will be done? How will the objectives be met? What are the motivations, methods, likely outcomes, milestones, and future directions? If existing CCI assets and equipment will be leveraged to support the research, please describe the equipment/assets and how they will be used.
  • Plan for Impact on the Commonwealth (up to 1 page).
    • Address potential for commercialization and economic development/impact, and/or workforce development in the Commonwealth.
  • Plan for Collaboration (up to 1 page)
    • A collaboration plan is required to discuss coordination mechanisms that regularly bring together the project participants to ensure the success of collaborative research efforts.
    • Describe specific plans for achieving long-term sustainability of the proposed research collaboration, including but not limited to securing external funding beyond the project period.
    • Letters of collaboration from industrial partners can be attached as appendix (not included in the page count).
  • References (not included in the page count)
  • Budget. A detailed budget and justification/explanation must be included. Please confirm the ability to utilize all potentially awarded funds before December 31, 2021. The 1:1 matching contribution must be clearly described. Please note Commonwealth resources, and equipment purchased with Commonwealth resources, such as CCI funds, may not serve as contributing resources.
  • Biosketch (up to 2 pages for each investigator, using NSF format)

Proposal Submission

The proposal must be submitted by the project PI to his or her node director no later than the close of business day (5:00 p.m.) on Friday, October 30, 2020. All proposals must be submittedas a single PDF document.

Contact information of CCI node directors:

Evaluation Criteria

A committee will review the proposals and make funding recommendations. Priority will be given to the proposals with

  • Strong intellectual merit related to CCI’s mission,
  • Strong broader impacts related to CCI’s mission,
  • Responsiveness to Node focus areas and relevance to industry needs,
  • Multi-institutional, cross-node collaborations,
  • Potential to generate additional funding and revenue.

Specific questions concerning this RFP and the requirements set forth herein should be directed in writing to the node director of the PI’s institution.