President's Blog

Mason poised to deliver on state’s cybersecurity objectives

State lawmakers are considering a major investment in cybersecurity research to be operated from Northern Virginia. This is exciting news for Mason. We’ve been a state and national leader in cybersecurity and IT for decades, with innovative faculty, programs, and expertise that must be leveraged for the good of the Commonwealth.

In fact, Mason talent has fueled the innovation engine of the high-growth cyber/IT industry in our region and state.

As the Virginia General Assembly reconvenes this week to produce a budget bill potentially including a strategic investment to strengthen our cybersecurity capabilities, we know they will give deep consideration to Mason’s exceptionally strong contributions in this field – past, present, and future.

Consider just a few compelling highlights of the last year:

  • Mason faculty have competed for and won awards worth more than $100 million to support cutting-edge research and innovation in cyber/IT and related areas.
  • Mason became the first (and only) Virginia institution selected to lead a national center of research excellence for the Department of Homeland Security – with funding of $40 million.
  • Mason enrolls almost 5,000 students in its BS, MS, and doctorate programs in IT, computer science and engineering, and cybersecurity engineering programs – a community of scholars and future innovators at least twice the size of other Virginia institutions.
  • ranks Mason eighth of the top 20 cyber security schools in the country. Mason is the only Virginia school on the list.
  • Mason enrollment in “big” data science and analytics programs is also growing, with almost 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in 2017.
  • TechRepublic ranks Mason in the top 20 best schools for studying big data analytics.

Mason is ideally positioned and ready to play a leadership role in the state’s cyber/IT economic development strategy. The university is in close proximity to more than 9,100 technology-related employers in Northern Virginia and more than 450 cyber security companies in Fairfax County alone – many of them started and/or operated by Mason graduates.

State lawmakers will want to leverage Mason’s existing and extensive capabilities in these fields as they make this major investment in the commonwealth’s promising IT-intensive economic future.

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