Stakeholders representing critical aspects of cybersecurity converged at a milestone in the plan for Virginia’s Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) last month in Arlington.

More than 50 members of CCI’s Blueprint Advisory Council and Working Groups representing dozens of universities, colleges, companies, and government institutions (Full list of attendees) took part in hours of robust discussions aimed to help craft the outline of Virginia’s $25 million investment in the initiative, called for in the 2018-20 budget.

The state also tapped Virginia Tech to lead a process to develop a blueprint for CCI through the assembly of a state-wide network of experts from public institutions of higher education, industry, government, and nonprofit groups.

For several hours the group of stakeholders concentrated on CCI’s two areas of focus: developing an engine for research, innovation, and commercialization of cybersecurity technologies and increasing the number of advanced and professional degrees to close the gap in the cybersecurity workforce. Among the many discussions, attendees explored nontraditional education models to address the workforce shortage, the curation of ecosystems that streamline linkages between university research and industry innovation, and most of all, the need to maintain bridges between the multiple stakeholders to ensure an ongoing collaborative effort.

The retreat marked the finish of Phase 1 of the blueprint process and the beginning of Phase 2, which will be completed prior to giving the blueprint to the Virginia Research Investment Committee on or before Dec. 1.

Updates on this and other Commonwealth Cyber Initiatives activity can be seen on the CCI site.