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National Centers of Academic Excellence in IA Research (CAE/R) Criteria for Measurement

The goal of the CAE-R program is to increase our understanding of robust IA technology, policy, and practices that will enable our Nation to effectively prevent or respond to a catastrophic cyber event. This program will significantly contribute to the advancement of state-of-the-art IA knowledge and practice. Applicants for CAE/R must meet the Carnegie Foundation's classifications of Research University/Very High (RU/VH), Research University/High (RU/H) or Doctoral Research University (DRU) or the equivalent is eligible to apply.

Applications must be submitted electronically via the on-line application process. Applications are assessed against a specific set of criteria (PDF attached). Applicants must clearly demonstrate how they meet each of the criteria. Minimum requirements for each of the criteria must be met to obtain designation. Successful applicants are designated as a CAE/R for a period of five academic years, after which they must successfully reapply to retain the designation. The criteria are reviewed annually and strengthened as appropriate to keep pace with the evolving nature of IA/Cybersecurity. (Designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in IA Research does not carry a commitment of funding from the National Security Agency nor from the Department of Homeland Security.)

The vision for the CAE-R Program is to establish a process that will:

  • Recognize schools with programs that integrate research activities into the curriculum and into the classroom.
  • Provide NSA, DHS, and other Federal agencies with insight into academic IA programs (with their reach into industry) that can support advanced academic, research, and development capabilities.
  • Serve as a potential source and facilitator for government–academic researcher exchanges.
  • Present opportunities for IA research centers to drill deeper into much-needed solutions for securing critical information systems and networks.

CAE-R Program Requirements: There are six foundational criteria for establishing CAE- Research:

1. Applicant institutions must either be an existing Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education or meet the revised CAE criteria outlined here:

a.  Provide evidence of significant engagement in IA research initiatives, community service, and outreach with regard to IA research initiatives, such as serving on technical program committees of IA conferences, editing IA journals, hosting conferences and workshops, and collaborating with or assisting local government, business, and industry.

b.  The academic program encourages research in IA.  This criterion focuses on STUDENT-based research.  Provide titles of theses, dissertations, or projects within the last five years.

c.  It is clearly demonstrated that the faculty are active in current IA practice and research and contribute to IA literature.  Substantiate depth and length of faculty expertise through submission of biographies and bibliographies.

d.  The academic program, within a nationally or regionally accredited four-year college or graduate-level university, has an area of study in IA. 

e.  The university has a declared center for IA education or a center for IA research.

f.  University faculty consists of more than one full-time instructor who teaches courses that contain IA-related material and who conducts research in the IA area.

2.  The institution must be either a DoD school or Ph.D.-producing military academy or be rated as either Research University–Very High Research Activity (RU–VH), a Research University–High Research Activity (RU–H), or a Doctoral/Research University (DRU) as determined by the Carnegie Foundation Basic Classification system (and/or other independent bodies to measure IA or written justification as to significant IA research).

3.  List IA faculty with link to Curriculum Vitae (CV), including main areas of IA research/expertise. 

4.  Publication.  The baseline that distinguishes research from technical writing is peer evaluation.  Those aspiring to CAE-R status must provide evidence of a strong peer-reviewed publication record by IA faculty and students. (Examples of publications:  books or chapters of books, peer-reviewed journals, peer-reviewed conference reports/presentations, peer-reviewed electronic publications, project reports, technical/trade magazines, invited presentations, working groups, and graduate-level papers.)  Include impact of research—number of papers and how they impact the IA community.  What is your school’s area of expertise?  Provide link to 10 to 20 papers that highlight your area of expertise in IA research.  Other research products considered in this section include other IA publications and software or hardware artifacts.

Core area list:


Type Title Author(s)




Chapter of book

Modern IA Education – Chapter 6 - Pedagogy

Co-Authors – Professor M. Jones & Professor C. Smith

Peer-reviewed journal



Peer-reviewed conference reports/presentation



Peer-reviewed Electronic Pub.



Project reports



Tech/trade magazines

Government Computer News: DoD – IA GIG

Col. Ray Biggs, Adjunct Professor of CS

Invited Presentations



Working Groups



Graduate-level papers



Software/Hardware produced






5.  Graduate-level Production.  CAE-R applicants must provide evidence that they are producing graduate-level (Ph.D. and Masters) students in IA.  Provide information regarding the number of M.S. or Ph.D. students who completed an IA-focused thesis (complete with name, date, and thesis title), regardless of department (such as CS, EE, MIS, or math).  The thesis or dissertation must have a clear IA focus. The CAE-R candidate school should have an average of three Ph.D. students enrolled with an IA emphasis in a one-year period.  In addition, three Ph.D. students should graduate within a five-year period.  Provide link to the best work of Ph.D. or Masters students in the area of IA (at least 3).

6.  Research Funding.  The CAE-R applicant must provide a history of research funding for the past five years and, wherever possible, from sources such as DARPA, NSF, and ONI.  Include highlights of the IA aspect of at least 10 research projects, in addition to a brief description of other IA-related research projects.  Wherever possible, documentation from the funding source (government, industry, etc.) verifying that funded research in core IA with IA implications of a significant level and impact is occurring, and/or provide evidence of patents awarded or applied for, if applicable.  If documentation from the funding source is not available, a letter of verification from the Dean will suffice.  The program should produce evidence of conducting research/study of particular interest to NSA.  Here are two examples of tables from the NSF site: 

a.  Grants


Statement of:

Number Source Amount Time PI Impact/Results


NSF Grant #


Jan. 04 -current

Dr. Grant
Dr. Research

Research methods
for securing optical storage
medium. See NSF letter.







b.  Patents Awarded/Applied for:

Patent#     Area of research Date submitted Applicant  Status







Date Posted: Jan 15, 2009 | Last Modified: August 17, 2012 | Last Reviewed: July 30, 2012