Minority Serving – Cyberinfrastructure Consortium and Internet2 have submitted a proposal to the National Science Foundation for Center of Excellence Demo Pilot to advance the research cyberinfrastructure (CI) capabilities and support systems for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).
During the two-year launch period, an organization will be established to provide MS-CC member organizations pilot programs, professional development workshops, technical assistance in developing proposals for CI funding and capabilities (such as science DMZs), and workforce development initiatives for both staff and students. This proposal centers on broadening science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) participation by underrepresented groups in the United States’ research CI, allowing for new perspectives and expanded capability for the nation.
The foundational portion of the proposal builds on the MS-CC, which has a shared vision, a charter, and identification of stakeholder value propositions. With additional support under this grant, MS-CC will be able to have professional staff and defined services, combined with a sustainability model. These efforts build on a 2018 stakeholder mapping survey, and two subsequent 2020 stakeholder mapping surveys (n=49 from 24 HBCUs; n=291; 125 responses from 44 HBCUs, 83 responses from 32 TCUs, and 82 responses from 63 HSIs), which highlighted workforce development (important or very important to 88% of respondents) and CI capabilities (important or very important for 96% on cybersecurity, 90% on CI training, 88% on access to CI facilitators, and 87% on CI assessment) as priorities.
Internet2 is launching this proposal as an outcome of its ongoing dialogue and Letter of Collaboration with MS-CC. Internet2 will serve in a facilitating role, while also providing substantive expertise around identity and access management, network infrastructure, and related areas of CI. It is important to note that HBCUs, TCUs, and HSIs are each distinctive communities of practice, pointing to unique and complementary roles under this proposal. The TCU community is most advanced with respect to institutional collaboration, with regular meetings of TCU Presidents and current CI programs, however the HBCU community operates on a more distributed basis. This proposal holds the promise of establishing collaborative capability among these institutions. There are multiple and varied relevant HSI organizations and this proposal contemplates outreach and exploration with these organizations.