University of South Florida

Muma College of Business

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Faculty researchers in USF’s School of Information Systems and Management secure over $17 million in competitive grants

TAMPA – From nurturing the pipeline of high school students interested in technology careers to training health experts on leadership skills, faculty in the School of Information Systems and Management at the USF Muma College of Business have received over $17 million in competitive external grants during the 2022-2023 academic year.

Faculty researchers are leading the charge to improve practice through research, with support from highly selective external grants — a testament to the wide-ranging impacts of the research being conducted by school faculty.

“Faculty in the School of Information Systems and Management at USF are leaders in research and teaching and in engaging with the community in these activities,” said Kaushik Dutta, director of the school. “The grants awarded to our faculty place the school at the very top of all business schools nationwide for grant activity.”

“Not only do these successes reflect the great expertise of school faculty and their passion to make a difference, but also the research conducted by faculty with support from these grants ultimately results in curriculum refinements within the classroom as well as opportunities for our students to work on these great projects. This directly benefits students in our programs.”

The list of competitive external grants include:

Kresge foundation

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Triparna de Vreede, in collaboration with professors Marissa Levine and Jennifer Marshall from the USF College of Public Health, won a highly competitive grant of $7.5 million from the Kresge Foundation to serve as the national program office for training in regenerative leadership for public health experts. This three-year grant focuses on the community health ecosystems initiative of the Kresge Foundation and leverages de Vreede’s research in leadership and creativity.

The USF team will partner with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the Big Cities Health Coalition, and the National Association of County and City Officials as an interdisciplinary network. The USF team was selected from a field of 25 competing teams from leading universities across the country.

Cyber florida

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Shivendu Shivendu and Varol Kayhan received a grant of $5.65 million from Cyber Florida to train state and local government leaders in Florida on cyber security management and executive concerns in cyber security.

The state-wide training program, developed by school faculty and believed to be the first of its kind in the country, will include table-top activities that introduce leaders to cyber security issues and potential responses.

This effort is in response to the requirements established by the Florida state legislature in 2022 for all local and state employees to get training in cybersecurity.

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To fulfill this requirement, the school’s faculty team are developing four different training programs. Those include general cybersecurity awareness, cybersecurity leadership training, cybersecurity administrative training, and cybersecurity technical training.

These four programs will cover the cybersecurity training needs of almost all local and state employees in Florida. Several students from the school are helping to develop and deliver the training.

National science foundation

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Manish Agrawal and Giti Javidi, in collaboration with Srinivas Katkoori and Nasir Ghani from the USF College of Engineering, received a Scholarship for Service grant of $3.7 million from the National Science Foundation. 

The grant prepares future cyber security leaders for the executive branch of the federal government. The grant will select students from a range of programs at USF including in the School of Information Systems and Management, both graduate and undergraduate, and prepare them for successful careers in the federal government.

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The award is the largest NSF grant USF has ever received for its cybersecurity program – helping prepare students for in-demand, high-paying jobs in the federal government and other public institutions.

The grant will establish the Cybersecurity Research and Education for Service in Government, or CREST, program, which will enable USF to recruit, mentor and provide scholarships to at least 28 graduate and undergraduate students and prepare them to serve as cybersecurity professionals in the federal government.

Scholars selected for the program will receive extensive coaching and mentoring on public service ethos from former military and federal civilian leaders, as well as from agencies and members of a unique advisory council.

Florida department of education

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Clinton Daniel received $650,000 from the Florida Department of Education for modernizing the Digital Information Technology course in Florida high schools. Digital Information Technology is the first course in the technology course sequence in the state and creates the foundation for students to succeed in later specialized technology courses such as cyber security, and computer programming. 

The course is taken by over 50,000 students each year in Florida. The textbook and related instructional materials created by Daniel will give students and teachers a comprehensive and modern resource for study.

Daniel is collaborating with the Hillsborough and Pinellas County Public Schools to build the content and make it accessible to a broad population of middle and high school students. The course is designed to provide a basic overview of current business and information systems and trends, and to introduce students to the fundamental skills required for today's business and academic environment.

This will prepare students to be successful both personally and professionally in our modern information-based society. Daniel is also working on translating the materials into Spanish and potentially other languages to serve the needs of students from a wide range of backgrounds. The textbook will also be hosted by the USF library for use by interested students and teachers worldwide.

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