University Awarded $1M for Program in Security Assured Information Systems

Issue Date: 
October 9, 2006

New program will train professionals to protect cyberspace community

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will fund a $1-million, four-year scholarship program for the Security Assured Information Systems (SAIS) track of study in Pitt’s School of Information Sciences (SIS).

The scholarship program will support three cohorts of four graduate students pursuing their Masters and Ph.D. degrees in information science or telecommunications and networking with the SAIS track option.

The NSF wants to ensure a pool of qualified information assurance (IA) professionals to protect the global cyberspace community. Pitt has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Scholarship recipients are expected to benefit from SIS’s multidisciplinary educational environment combined with an IA curriculum that is one of only eight in the nation to be certified in all five national IA educational standards set by the Committee on National Systems Security. The IA curriculum emphasizes development of critical thinking, teamwork within a multidisciplinary environment, oral and written communication, and leadership skills. Students are challenged in their courses with projects that allow them to engage in hands-on applications of the latest IA technologies.

The NSF grant was awarded to a team of SIS educators including the program’s principal investigator, James Joshi, and coprincipal investigators Prashant Krishnamurthy, Michael Spring, and David Tipper. In 2004, Joshi and the other members of the SIS faculty received a $286,000 NSF Federal Cyber Service-Scholarship for Service grant to create a curriculum in Security Assured Information Systems.
The new scholarship program’s diversity goal is that at least 30 percent of program graduates will be women, minorities, and/or students with disabilities—groups that have been underrepresented in the IA profession.

For more information on the SAIS program in SIS, visit