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ICS History

The Institute for Cyber Security was created at UTSA in June 2007 through a competitive $3.5 million grant from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. Prof. Ravi Sandhu, a world-renowned cybersecurity researcher, scholar, educator and entrepreneur, was invited to join UTSA as the Founding Executive Director as a condition of the funding. UTSA awarded a $1.0 million Lutcher Brown Endowed Chair to Prof. Sandhu. The STARS program of the University of Texas System subsequently awarded a $1.0 million grant to Prof. Sandhu for furthering the Institute’s mission.

Cybersecurity was identified as an area of strategic importance for UTSA and for San Antonio in 2000. The Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) was established at UTSA in 2001. Cyber-security research and education activities were pursued in the Colleges of Science, Engineering and Business. Exercises, training and competition activities were pursued in CIAS. A concept for the Institute for Cyber Security was articulated in 2005 with the objective of strengthening and synergizing the already substantial cybersecurity activities and expertise across UTSA, and particularly to develop a world-leading research record in cybersecurity. A winning proposal to establish the Institute was submitted to the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, leading to the founding of the Institute and the invitation of Prof. Sandhu to lead it as a condition of the funding. San Antonio business, government, and academic leaders were crucial to this process with special acknowledgment of the leadership of David Spencer and John Dickson. The Institute is a component of the Department of Computer Science and reports to the Dean of the College of Science.

In 2017, ICS established the National Science Foundation supported CREST Center for Security and Privacy Enhanced Cloud Computing (C-SPECC), in partnership with UTSA’s Colleges of Sciences, Business, Education and Engineering, and UTSA’s Cyber Center for Security and Analytics, and its Open Cloud Institute. C-SPECC is a unit within ICS. Prof. Ravi Sandhu serves as the C-SPECC Director and Lead Principal Investigator.