Collaborative Research: SuRPASS: NSF SFS Unique Scholarship Program in Hardware and Systems Security Grant

Collaborative Research: SuRPASS: NSF SFS Unique Scholarship Program in Hardware and Systems Security .


  • There is an urgent need for a well-trained cybersecurity workforce in the government and private sectors. An effective cybersecurity education for our undergraduate and graduate students, using a well-designed curriculum, is essential to meet this need. The emergence of the Internet-of-Things, which promises an unprecedented number of devices, all connected to the Internet, makes the demand for cybersecurity education stronger than ever. This demand calls for not just an enhanced effort, but also a paradigm shift from traditional computer and information security education, which typically assumes that the hardware underlying the information systems is secure and trustworthy. Nonetheless, with a wide array of emerging attacks on hardware, that assumption is rapidly becoming invalid. Hence, there is a critical need to re-design our cybersecurity curriculum such that the nation's STEM student population is ready to take on future cybersecurity challenges. This scholarship program, called SURPASS, is a collaborative effort between two universities, University of Florida (UF) and Florida International University (FIU). Both universities serve diverse student populations, strong internationally-recognized hardware and systems security research programs, and extensive curricular offerings in cybersecurity, with the goal of addressing this need. Specifically, this program provides scholarships to encourage some of the best and brightest students in the state of Florida to pursue careers in hardware and systems security (HSS).The SURPASS SFS program by UF and FIU uniquely involves training students on critical aspects of cybersecurity with a strong emphasis on practical hands-on learning in HSS, utilizing unique lab facilities. SURPASS prepares future cybersecurity practitioners and researchers with a holistic education and training in HSS. Key features of SURPASS are as follows: (1) a focus on hardware security and trust at all levels of hardware abstraction, from chips to printed circuit boards (PCBs) to systems; (2) a careful integration of HSS education into a complete cybersecurity curriculum to enable students to understand system security issues spanning multiple layers, from devices to networks to the cloud; (3) extensive hands-on training, a unique feature, which not only helps students understand the makeup of a complex system, but also stimulates their interest in exploring new attacks/defenses; (4) integration of continuous one-to-one student mentoring from recruitment to placement and a systematic tracking of student progress; and finally, (5) training of a highly-diverse student population leading to the creation of a diverse workforce leveraging the large percentage (81%) of minority students at FIU.

date/time interval

  • January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2022

sponsor award ID

  • 1663051