UNH to help cybersecure the country's manufacturing enterprise

The John Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center at UNH.

A professor of mechanical engineering at the University of New Hampshire says joining other major leading universities in a newly launched Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute will lead to opportunities for collaboration at the college’s three schools.

“This is going to have connections through UNH in Durham and UNH in Manchester,” said Brad Kinsey, UNH lead for CyManII. “I think there’s also opportunities to tie in the law school.”

Last week, UNH became part of the institute, which is a $111 million public-private partnership led by the University of Texas at San Antonio.

CyManII is a five-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy that is pulling together the most advanced institutions researching smart and advanced manufacturing, secure automation and supply chains, workforce development and cybersecurity.

Kinsey said manufacturers need to protect their data, whether it is quality assurance data being sent along supply chains or intellectual property that keeps machines on factory floors producing state of the art products.

“The data is very valuable to the companies because it contains trade secrets and the know-how of how to produce their parts,” Kinsey said.

Kinsey is the director of the John Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center on Technology Drive in Durham.

The center is designed to help bridge the skills gap in the nation’s $1.7 trillion manufacturing industry.

Paul Dabbar, undersecretary for science at the Department of Energy, toured the center in October during a visit to UNH where he observed the research programs the college has which align with the Department of Energy’s basic science mission.

Kinsey said the center could be a great test bed for CyManII ideas because they can showcase how to improve the manufacturing process and how to set up firewalls to protect data.

UNH has faculty members in Durham and Manchester with expertise in cybersecurity, which Kinsey thinks will be helpful.

Kinsey mentioned Qiaoyan Yu, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; Dongpeng Xu, assistant professor of computer science; and Maeve Dion, an assistant professor at UNH Manchester in the Department of Security Studies.

Kinsey is hopeful being part of CyManII will bring opportunities for students at the undergraduate and graduate level to get involved in research.

CyManII’s proposed members include three DOE National Laboratories, four Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, 24 universities including UNH, 18 industry leaders and 10 nonprofit organizations.

Howard Grimes, CyManII chief executive officer, said the University of Texas at San Antonio has assembled a team of best-in-class national laboratories, industry, nonprofit and academic organizations to cybersecure the country’s manufacturing enterprise.

“As U.S. manufacturers increasingly deploy automation tools in their daily work, those technologies must be embedded with powerful cybersecurity protections,” Grimes said. “Together, we will share the mission to protect the nation’s supply chain, preserve its critical infrastructure and boost its economy.”

Grimes is associate vice president and associate vice provost for institutional initiatives at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The Department of Energy is funding the project through its Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, co-managed with the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Monday, April 19, 2021