USC-led Project Receives National Science Foundation (NSF) Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure (Mid-scale RI-1) Award

A proposal led by faculty at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Information Sciences Institute (ISI) has received a Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure (Mid-scale RI-1) Award from the NSF. The Mid-scale RI-1 program supports the design and implementation of research infrastructure — including testbeds, equipment, cyberinfrastructure, large-scale data sets, and personnel. Awardees will test new theories and questions in a novel setting, pushing science forward. Prior to this award, USC had never been funded under the Mid-scale RI-1 program, despite several submissions since the program’s conception.

USC Office of Research & Innovation actively encourages and supports faculty across USC to achieve research milestones and pursue external funding opportunities; it is imperative that future funding programs are actively communicated to faculty and that they are supported throughout the proposal submission lifecycle. This proposal, led by Jelena Mirkovic, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor of Computer Science, involved multiple R&I units from the early discussion stages through submission, with assistance from R&I’s Research Strategy and Development subdivision. Ultimately, Dr. Mirkovic and her team were successful and will receive roughly $17M over the next five years for their project, titled SPHERE – Security and Privacy Heterogeneous Environment for Reproducible Experimentation.

The USC proposal team will construct the Research Infrastructure Platform to Host Reproducible Cybersecurity Experimentation (SPHERE) testbed with its Mid-scale RI-1 award. SPHERE is a research infrastructure platform for at-scale, realistic, and reproducible cybersecurity and cyberprivacy experimentation across varied infrastructure. This will facilitate both foundational and translational cybersecurity research. A vital feature of the effort is built-in mechanisms to support reproducibility and replicability, a long-standing challenge in the cybersecurity research community. Overall, SPHERE will strengthen America’s cybersecurity research faculties and allow for research and experiments to be reproduced while serving a diverse set of target userbases.

Congratulations to Dr. Mirkovic and her team!