Lockheed Martin and the University of Central Florida (UCF) have joined to open a new Cyber Innovation Lab on UCF’s campus, which will help foster talented individuals in cybersecurity for local and national defence purposes.
The opening of the 970ft2 lab preceded a panel discussion in which members of the US military and Lockheed Martin cybersecurity experts gave advice to students wishing to prepare for a career in the cybersecurity field.
UCF president Dale Whittaker said: “This lab will serve as the campus’s primary hub for students to develop and expand their information security skills, preparing them to enter this high-demand field and take on the cybersecurity threats of the future. We are grateful for Lockheed Martin’s long-time partnership and strong commitment to our students’ success.”
Last year, Lockheed Martin donated $1.5m to the UCF to establish the Cyber Innovation Lab and encourage participation from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students.
Lockheed Martin rotary and mission systems deputy executive vice-president Stephanie C Hill said: “The future battlespace will be heavily reliant on cyber… even more so than we’re seeing today.
“By working with institutions like UCF, through labs like this one, we’ll all better understand and accelerate our shared capabilities and potential to adapt and innovate in the fifth domain.”
The remaining funds from Lockheed Martin’s donation will be used for software and tech support and paying for professionals to mentor STEM students at the Cyber Innovation Lab.
During the opening ceremony, UCF’s Collegiate Cyber Defense Club (Hack@UCF) demonstrated some of the work that UCF was already doing in the field of cybersecurity.
“Having a centralised space will streamline the way we organise our meetings and practices,” said Hack@UCF president and computer engineering student David Maria.
“With this lab, we can practice for competitions, host workshops, and speakers, provide cybersecurity tools and resources, and give our student members a sense of community and help get them ready for future careers. It’s not just a practice space. It’s a home for us.”
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, there are around 13,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in Florida. Moreover, the number of jobs for cybersecurity analysts is set to increase by 28% by 2026, based on trend data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Lockheed Martin has employed around 2,500 UCF graduates. The company noted that its state-based Cyber Solutions business has grown by 400% in the last five years as the prominence of cybersecurity threats increases worldwide.