University of Tulsa Launches Oklahoma Cyber Innovation Institute

The University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla., recently announced the launch of the Oklahoma Cyber Innovation Institute, which will focus on research to identify, test, and develop new cyber-workforce and cybersecurity solutions, according to a news release. Its formation is a response to the rise in cybercrime across state and national economies and the need for a more robust cybersecurity workforce.

“The global cost of cybercrime is set to grow from $3 trillion in 2015 to $10.5 trillion by 2025. Last year, more than 700,000 jobs in this field went unfilled,” said Rose Gamble, TU Vice President for Research and Economic Development. “The Oklahoma Cyber Innovation Institute will capitalize on decades of academic excellence at TU and expand research opportunities to include the expertise needed to put the findings into market.”

According to the news release, the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency reports that one-third of U.S. home computers have been infected with some form of malicious software, 47% of adults have had cyber criminals gain access to their personal information, and 44% of millennials have been victims of cybercrime. Likewise, Cybersecurity Ventures reports that the number of job vacancies in the cybersecurity industry have grown from 1 million in 2013 to 3.5 million in 2023.

The university is establishing the institute through a $24-million investment that will go toward attracting talent, implementing workforce development pipelines, constructing and renovating facilities around campus, launching research and commercialization programs, and building up state infrastructure. $12 million of that seed funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, and the other half comes through a match from the George Kaiser Family Foundation. The institute also announced that it is planning on more than $50 million in funding over the next five years from various public and private sources.

“Continued research and development in the cybersecurity sector is critical for reinforcing vulnerabilities in businesses and in our national defense,” said U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern, R-OK. “TU has already demonstrated their commitment to produce elite talent to fill incredibly important jobs in Tulsa and across the country for this growing industry. This institute will attract and retain even more cybersecurity experts to Tulsa, making our community a world-class center for cybersecurity solutions.”

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Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].