DHS Names 11 Institutions to Lead New Centers of Excellence

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently announced the selection of 11 universities to serve as important partners for conducting multi-disciplinary research and creating innovative learning environments for critical homeland security missions. These universities will partner to lead one of five new Centers of Excellence and receive a multi-year grant of up to $2 million per year, over a period of four to six years.

The five new Centers of Excellence, located across the country, will study: border security and immigration; explosives detection, mitigation, and response; maritime, island, and port security; natural disasters, coastal infrastructure, and emergency management; and transportation security.

"Investments in long-term, basic research are vital for the future of homeland security," said Jay M. Cohen, under secretary for Science and Technology. "These colleges and universities are leaders in their fields of study. They will provide scientific expertise, high-quality resources, and independent thought--all valuable to securing America."

Center of Excellence for Border Security and Immigration: The University of Arizona at Tucson and University of Texas at El Paso will co-lead a new center responsible for conducting research and developing technologies, tools, and advanced methods to balance immigration and commerce with effective border security. Their focus will be to assess threats and vulnerabilities, improve surveillance and screening, analyze immigration trends, and help to enhance policy and law enforcement efforts.

Center of Excellence for Explosives Detection, Mitigation and Response: Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., and the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I., will co-lead a new center responsible for conducting research to evaluate the risks, costs, and consequences of terrorism, and develop new means and methods to protect the nation. Their primary focus will be to detect leave-behind Improvised Explosive Devices, enhance aviation cargo security, provide next-generation baggage screening, detect liquid explosives, and enhance suspicious passenger identification.

Center of Excellence for Maritime, Island, and Port Security: The University of Hawaii in Honolulu and Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., will co-lead a new center responsible for conducting research and developing new ways to strengthen maritime domain awareness and safeguard populations and properties unique to U.S. islands, and remote and extreme environments. Examples include protecting the Alaskan Pipeline and other infrastructure and enhancing response and recovery plans for natural disaster threats like earthquakes and tsunamis. The University of Hawaii will lead research and education for maritime and island security, and Stevens Institute of Technology will lead research and education for port security.

Center of Excellence for Natural Disasters, Coast Infrastructure, and Emergency Management: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., will co-lead a new center responsible for conducting research and enhance the nation's ability to safeguard populations, properties, and economies as it relates to the consequences of catastrophic natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, droughts, and wildfires. Examples include protecting at-risk infrastructures and populations, enhancing post-catastrophic recovery, improving information sharing and communication, and enhancing critical supply chain resiliency.

Center of Excellence for Transportation Security: Texas Southern University in Houston, Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Miss., and the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn., will co-lead a new center responsible for conducting research and developing new technologies, tools, and advanced methods to defend, protect, and increase the resilience of the nation's multi-modal transportation infrastructure. These institutions were designated by Congress with the passage of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.

For more information, visit www.dhs.gov/universityprograms.

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