Call for Proposals for Cyber NYC Institutional Research Program

April 19, 2023

Research projects support top-class fundamental and applied research in cybersecurity-related areas. Submissions due May 29.

The CUNY Graduate Center has received a one-year unrestricted grant with the option for continued funding for up to three years. Led by the Computer Science Ph.D. Program, the Graduate Center is requesting proposals for the Cyber NYC Institutional Research Program (IRP).

Award Information

Selected projects will be expected to represent a hybrid approach with a mix of basic research and computing innovations from teams of faculty, students, and researchers. Each awarded project will be funded to $80,000 with up to $20,000 in supplemental Google Cloud Platform (GCP) credits (GCP Credits Calculator). Funded projects will also have the option to be renewed for a length of up to three years.

Cybersecurity-related areas

Research projects for the Cyber NYC IRP are intended to support top-class fundamental and applied research in cybersecurity-related areas. Research done should cover a broad spectrum from challenge-led, long-term research to more applied research, which can lead to immediate improvements in practice. Given the diverse range of skills needed, interdisciplinary departmental collaborations within each campus or involving multiple campuses and other research-intensive institutions and organizations are encouraged. 

The following are priority areas where further research could encourage the development of more secure digital ecosystems and inspire innovation:

  • Trusted Computing: Trusting the outputs of a system requires trusting that the system’s inputs and behavior have not been tampered with. Trusted computing is a broad area comprising topics such as hardware enclaves, software tamper detection, zero-knowledge and concise proofs, privacy-preserving algorithms, and others.
  • Transformational AI for Trust: Trust can be very hard to measure and quantify. This intersects with AI in several ways: explainability, resistance to adversarial inputs, privacy-preserving ML training and inference algorithms, secure AI hardware accelerators, and so on. 
  • Post-quantum cryptography: Quantum computers bring novel capabilities to the cybersecurity landscape. They can be used for novel attacks against classical security algorithms, but also create new security capabilities (particularly around secure communication). Research is needed in both areas: cryptosystems that run on classical computers but are resistant to quantum-based attacks, and quantum algorithms that are resistant to both classical and quantum attacks.
  • Human and Social Sciences: Many of the most significant security failures involve humans and can often be attributed to poor design that fails to take the human factor into account. Few security solutions are likely to succeed without input from psychologists and the social sciences and computer scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.
  • Ethics in Research: Research into cybersecurity topics can sometimes involve working with at-risk populations, legally and politically charged topics, and other factors beyond just the technical. This creates the need for research frameworks that enable researchers to investigate these areas, while still maintaining high ethical standards, particularly when human subjects are a source of data.

Review Criteria

Research proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria (and should align with Google's AI principles): 

  • Alignment with the area of interest: Aligns with one of the priority areas of focus and has the potential for high impact.
  • Originality: Innovative beyond prior work in the field with transformative concepts.
  • Research Merit & Relevance: The potential to transform the scientific ecosystem and is aligned to an area of interest to Google.
  • Broader Impact: The potential to positively impact societal challenges, support research capacity, and contribute to specific DEI outcomes.

A CUNY internal review committee will be formed to conduct initial proposal reviews, and will recommend selected proposals to Google for final review and decision.

Connecting to a Google Sponsor

It is highly encouraged that you have a Google sponsor for collaboration on your research project. We ask that you identify who your Google sponsor is by the time of proposal submission. You may collaborate with your Google sponsor on the project proposal.

If you do not have a Google sponsor identified, then consider using one of the following methods.

Workshop participants

Workshop participants were invited to fill out a Research Interests spreadsheet on the topic breakout they participated in. You may send an email directly to the person you would like to connect with on your project idea, but please try to be as targeted as possible. We recommend that you confirm a Google Sponsor prior to completing your research project proposal.

Project pitch to Google researchers

If you do not yet have a Google sponsor identified with shared interest on your project proposal, then fill out the Submission Form by indicating you do not have a Google Sponsor by April 27. Form entries will be shared across Google research teams with the intention of finding a researcher with similar interests and desire to sponsor your project if funded. Google University Relations will make introductions between interested Google researchers and PI(s) by May 8.

Submission Process

Proposals should be uploaded as a single PDF by May 29. Use this Submission Form to upload. Proposals should clearly describe the research problem and approach, and should not exceed three pages including references. Successful proposals will be notified by June 23.

For additional information, review the FAQs for Cyber NYC IRP's Call for Proposals.

If you have any questions, please send them to Professor Ping Ji at