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An Educational Primer for Foundational Concepts of Cyberbiosecurity

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Virginia Commonwealth CyberInitiative (CCI) funded Hannah Scherer (ALCE; CAIA Affiliate Faculty) and team for an educational project at the interface of agriculture and cybersecurity. This announcement was shared in the CCI newsletter, distributed to state agencies and policy makers and CCI members across 21 Virginia universities.

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Project Overview

This project supports efforts to encourage middle-schoolers in rural communities, especially girls and underserved populations, to pursue STEM careers that help secure the US food and agricultural industries. The team hired a graduate and an undergraduate student to develop an interdisciplinary primer describing the basic elements of the nascent cyberbiosecurity space and identified and created conceptual templates for Open Education Resources and FACT sheets targeted for middle school youth. 


Key finding:

The cyberbiosecurity interdisciplinary primer developed for educators includes the following topics: biotechnology, bioeconomy, precision agriculture, data literacy, sensors, big data, and insider threat. Additional topics will continue to be added.

Key Outcome(s) and/or Product(s):

To date, we have completed background research, conducted interviews with Virginia Tech faculty with expertise in cyberbiosecurity, compiled informational resources, and created initial drafts of key elements of the interdisciplinary primer.

Next Steps:

Our project team was awarded a USDA-NIFA Women and Minorities in STEM Grant entitled “Initiating the rural cyberbiosecurity workforce pipeline through empowering agricultural educators and supporting middle school girls.” Through this three-year project, we will support formal and non-formal agricultural educators in integrating cyberbiosecurity topics and research-based strategies for engaging middle-school aged girls in STEM into their educational programs. 

This project was one of the the four seed projects funded by the CCI Southwest Virginia Cyberbiosecurity Grants Program.  Learn more about these funded projects→