Florida Center for Cybersecurity established at USF

The center, a first of its kind and funded with $5 million in next year's state budget, will work to make Florida the national leader in this emerging and critical field.


TAMPA, Fla. (June 2, 2014) – Positioning Florida to be a national leader in the increasingly vital area of cybersecurity, state leaders have approved the creation of the Florida Center for Cybersecurity within the University of South Florida. The center will be a resource for the entire State University System of Florida, as well as state business, defense and government communities.

The final approval came with Gov. Rick Scott's signing of House Bill 5101 today. The bill provides that the center will be established at USF effective July 1, 2014. The Legislature and the Governor also appropriated $5 million to USF in the state budget for fiscal year 2014-2015 (HB 5001) to support the first phase of the center's operations and other new cybersecurity initiatives.

"Our leaders in the House and Senate and Gov. Rick Scott clearly recognize that cybersecurity not only poses huge challenges in terms of data privacy, but that it also represents a significant workforce need that Florida can fill," said State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser. "We are grateful to our state leaders for entrusting our university system to lead the charge. We know that the University of South Florida is ready to put the Florida Center for Cybersecurity on the map, and we look forward to all we will accomplish with our partners across the state."

"The University of South Florida has made cybersecurity an institutional priority, and we're excited to build upon what we've accomplished through the collaborative opportunities of the Florida Center for Cybersecurity at USF," said USF President Judy Genshaft. "We are so grateful to the Governor and to our leaders in the House, Senate and on the Board of Governors, for giving USF and our partners the resources we need to help make Florida the cyber-state."

The center's creation comes after months of research by USF, its partner State University System institutions and the Board of Governors following a request by the 2013 Legislature to explore ways to bring such a center to life. (Click here -- -- to read the report commissioned by the 2013 Legislature.)

The center's mission was articulated by the 2014 Legislature in HB 5101:

1004.444, Florida Statutes: Florida Center for Cybersecurity

(1) The Florida Center for Cybersecurity is established within the University of South Florida.
(2) The goals of the center are to:

As host institution, USF has already begun laying the center's groundwork. This fall, USF will launch a first-of-its-kind online master's degree in cybersecurity with four concentrations. USF has also entered into partnerships with cybersecurity companies, military partners, business leaders and research entities across the country to build the center's national reputation.

The $5 million allocated to the center will be used to recruit nationally recognized cybersecurity experts to compete for federal and industry research funding, as well as to offer expanded cybersecurity education opportunities and community outreach through continuing education, corporate training programs and consumer protection workshops.

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The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 50 research university among both public and private institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving more than 47,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.