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Call for Proposals: Securing NextG


The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) is establishing Virginia as a global center of excellence at the intersection of security, autonomous systems, and intelligence. With a mission of research, innovation, and workforce development, CCI serves as a catalyst for the Commonwealth's economic development and long-term leadership in this sector.

The vision for the next generation of networks, sometimes referred to as NextG or 6G, is starting to emerge, and the timing is right for CCI to contribute to this vision, and in particular to develop the solutions needed to secure NextG networks.

While no formal definition of NextG currently exists, what we mean by the term is the generation of networks and technologies that is expected to eventually, in the next decade, complement and/or replace 5G. The NextG Alliance is a North American consortium formed to further develop the vision of NextG.

Objectives of this call include:

  • To produce seminal contributions to secure NextG networks.
  • To establish a CCI vision on NextG network security.
  • To position CCI researchers to be competitive for government and industry funding of NextG research.
  • To contribute to workforce development for NextG.

In addition to the usual research outputs, we anticipate this program to produce a CCI-led publication (e.g., an edited book) and a set of lecture notes. Each funded proposal will focus on a particular aspect of NextG security.


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

Applications from under-represented groups are particularly welcome, as are applications from researchers who have not previously engaged with CCI.

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

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI: 1
An eligible researcher may participate on at most 2 proposals in this call, and may submit at most 1 proposal as the Principal Investigator.

Other Requirements:

In addition to the usual research outputs, we anticipate this program to produce a CCI-led publication (e.g., an edited book) and a set of lecture notes. Each funded proposal will focus on a particular aspect of NextG security and is expected to produce a chapter for the book, as well as a set of lecture notes that can be used in a special topics course on NextG security.

Each proposal must focus on one of the following research areas:

  • Security aspects of embedding artificial intelligence in NextG networks
  • 5G security vulnerabilities expected to be addressed in NextG
  • Security aspects of softwarization and disaggregation in NextG
  • Supply chain vulnerabilities in NextG
  • Testbeds for cybersecurity research and innovation in NextG
  • Securing the next generation of low-power devices in NextG
  • Security implications of quantum computing and networking in NextG
  • Securing new user interfaces in NextG
  • Secure management and orchestration of NextG networks
  • Security aspects of open interfaces and open solutions in NextG
  • Securing non-terrestrial networks in NextG
  • Public policy and legal issues in NextG security
  • Securing NextG infrastructure deployments in smart communities
  • Secure and robust rural access to NextG
  • Secure support for cyber physical systems in NextG
  • Physical layer security in NextG


If the project covers more than one topic, one of the topics must be identified as the primary topic for the proposal.

Expressions of intent:

Principal investigators (PIs) intending to submit a proposal are strongly encouraged to send an expression of intent to by the deadline below. The email should contain the name and affiliation of the PI, and the primary topic from the list above. This will allow us to identify in advance topics that may be undersubscribed or oversubscribed. The expressions of intent are not binding.

Any PI intending to propose a topic not on the list above must seek approval of the topic, through the submission of an expression of intent by the same deadline. Topics not on the list also require a justification of relevance to the call.


Total Amount of Funding for this Program:



Maximum Award Amount:
$100,000 per proposal

Award Conditions:
Successful applicants are 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).





Request for Proposals Released

September 3, 2021

Intention to submit

September 15, 2021

Proposals Due

October 4, 2021, 5:00 PM Eastern Time

Award Notification


November 5, 2021
Project Dates


December 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022

Proposal Format

Proposals must use 1-inch margins, 12-point font and single line spacing. The required proposal format is outlined below.

  • Title page (1 page)
    • Title of the proposed project, name, affiliation, and contact information for the Principal Investigator (PI) and co-Principal Investigators (co-PIs)
    • Primary research topic, from the list above
  • Proposed Research (up to 4 pages)
    • Rationale: Discussion of the technical background and engineering/scientific justification. This should include project objectives and intellectual merit of the proposed work.
    • Relevance to a vision of cybersecurity in NextG: A brief paragraph positioning the work in some of the existing literature on NextG, and explaining how the work advances cybersecurity in those networks.
    • 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.
    • Deliverables: Describe the expected deliverables for the project (publications, demonstrations, intellectual property, etc.). Outline the structure of a chapter to be contributed to a book on Securing NextG.
  • Plan for Impact on the Commonwealth (up to 1 page)
    • Explain how the work will enhance the competitiveness of the PI/co-PIs and CCI to attract research funding and eminent scholars to the Commonwealth.
    • Address potential for commercialization and economic development/impact, and/or workforce development in the Commonwealth.
    • Letters of collaboration from industrial partners, if relevant, can be attached as an appendix (not included in the page count).
  • References (not included in the page count)
  • Budget
    • A detailed budget spreadsheet must be included, followed by a budget justification.  These documents should demonstrate the ability to utilize all potentially awarded funds before August 31, 2022.
    • Facilities & Administration (F&A) costs are not allowed.
    • Institutional Commitment (Match) is not required for this grant.
  • Bio sketch (up to 2 pages for each investigator, using NSF format)


Proposal Submission

The proposal must be submitted to no later than the close of business day (5:00 p.m.) on the due date. All proposals must be submitted as a single PDF attachment to an email with subject line CCI NextG Research Call.

Proposals and budgets should go through the appropriate approval process at the PI’s institution. For instance, many universities require researchers to include a proposal and budget which have been approved in the standard OSP 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. Priority will be given to the proposals with:

  • Strong intellectual merit related to CCI’s focus area (the intersection of cybersecurity, autonomy, and intelligence)
  • Relevance to the focus of the call: cybersecurity and NextG
  • Significant initial results in the selected topic in NextG security
  • Strong broader impacts related to CCI’s mission
  • Potential to generate additional funding and revenue
  • Broadening participation by researchers in the CCI network in CCI-funded initiatives


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