The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and its counterparts in the Netherlands jointly announced today an opportunity to provide up to $2.6 million of funding for collaborative cybersecurity research projects conducted by joint US-Dutch teams.

The Dutch partners in the bilateral call are the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), which is part of the Ministry of Security and Justice. S&T’s Cyber Security Division (CSD) Director Dr. Douglas Maughan, NCSC Head of Cyber Security Expertise and Advice Raymond Doijen, and NWO Program Manager of Cybersecurity Research Jan Piet Barthel made the announcement today during the International One Conference in the Hague.

“Cybersecurity concerns do not stop at national borders,” said DHS Under Secretary (Acting) for Science and Technology Dr. Robert Griffin. “This new international bilateral agreement recognizes this reality by funding joint U.S.-Dutch research teams to develop capabilities that will benefit both countries.”

Investing in the future by sharing knowledge

The goal of this initiative, which builds upon research projects conducted jointly by the two countries, is to strengthen research and development collaboration between top cybersecurity researchers from both nations. The research focus areas for the bilateral US-Netherlands call are Industrial Control Systems/Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition and Distributed Denial of Service attacks and the Domain Name System. In all, the partners plan to fund up to five joint research proposals.

Under the program, half of the available R&D funding will be provided by DHS S&T CSD through its recently announced International Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) HSHQDC-17-R-B001, which was published on FedBizOpps on February 7, 2017.

The purpose of this five-year, $9.5 million BAA—also called the Cyber Security International Collaboration Research and Development program—is to facilitate cooperative cybersecurity R&D activities with CSD’s current and future international partners, including the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Funding from the BAA will be awarded to US-based researchers.

The NWO and the NCSC will fund the other half of the program and will be awarded to researchers based in the Netherlands.

“With this joint call we reaffirm our joint mission to foster stronger research links between the Netherlands and the US and strengthen collaboration between our nations’ best cyber security researchers. We can only address the challenges we face now and in the future by investing in our shared knowledge. The NCSC is very proud to have DHS and NWO as partners in this field,” said Patricia Zorko, director of cyber security in the Ministry of Security and Justice.

“This bilateral call is a significant step forward in CSD’s partnership program with international cybersecurity organizations,” said Maughan. “We are excited because this first-of-its-kind funding will bring about cooperative partnerships between US-based and Netherlands-based researchers, bringing a truly global perspective to an international concern: the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure and networks.”

“The idea to run a US-Netherlands pilot call was born more than five years ago at the Dutch Embassy in Washington D.C.,” Barthel recalled. “The global challenges of cybersecurity, the appreciation of the research community and the pilot results achieved, convinced us to continue and strengthen our valuable partnership with DHS CSD.”

Proposal requirements

To be eligible for funding through this bilateral call, submitted proposals are required to have teams comprised of academia, industry and laboratory (US only) researchers from both countries and must be a single, unified proposal that describes a full program of work in both countries. Both NWO/NCSC and CSD will conduct separate reviews of submitted proposals. An international committee—consisting of representatives from each organization—will select the research proposals that will be awarded the bilateral call’s funding.

Interested US-Netherlands cybersecurity research teams can submit a combined proposal to their respective country’s participating organization until August 31.

CSD currently is working on similar bilateral agreements with its other international partners and will announce new solicitations throughout the life of its five-year Cyber Security International Collaboration Research and Development program.

CSD’s mission is to enhance the security and resilience of the nation’s critical information infrastructure and the internet by developing and delivering new technologies, tools and techniques to defend against cyberattacks. The division conducts and supports technology transitions and leads and coordinates R&D among DHS customers, government agencies, the private sector and international partners. CSD is part of S&T’s Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency.

For more information about CSD, visit https://www.dhs.gov/cyber-research.