Vehicle Cyber Engineering (VCE)

Artist's rendering of a woman doing cyber security research.

Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute

In 2021, Detroit Mercy received a $1.12-million award from the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to establish the Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute, a regional-based, cybersecurity consortium. This important new consortium consists of multiple academic institutions in southeast Michigan and includes University of Arizona as a research partner. In addition, the Institute will help expand and enhance the cybersecurity engineering workforce through an applied curriculum developed in consultation with industry partners. The formation of the Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute enhances Detroit Mercy’s engineering and cybersecurity programs and draws on the University’s rich legacy of educating engineers and technical professionals who work to improve the quality of life of people around the world.

Meeting the growing demand for cybersecurity engineers

The creation of this consortium comes at a pivotal time in global history, due to the looming threat imposed by cybersecurity around the world. This institute will help increase the field’s professional workforce and reduce the cybersecurity risk to the Dept. of Defense and commercial ground vehicles by educating professionals who can counter-act cybersecurity threats from actors in multi-domain contested environments.

31 percent growth. Professional opportunities for cybersecurity engineers to grow is 31% between 2019-29.
91,750 dollars.  Average salary for cybersecurity engineers in Michigan for 2019 was $91,750.
Computer hacker attempting to crack passwords.

Industry partnerships

To address the growing need for cybersecurity engineers, the Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute will build on existing relationships with automotive industry and government partners to provide students with valuable real-world experience. The Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute aims to become self-sustained after the fourth year of the program, with goals of developing qualified cybersecurity graduates and creating a multi-pathway educational structure that meets the needs of the vehicle industry and government partners.

The talent level, funding and equipment in metro Detroit is plentiful and cutting edge. Additionally, the transformational work being conducted on autonomous vehicles by the U.S. Army DEVCOM Ground Vehicle System Center, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and numerous start-ups and supplier partners makes the metro Detroit area uniquely qualified to partner with Detroit Mercy and its consortium partners.

—Paul Spadafora, director of Professional Engineering Programs for Detroit Mercy’s College of Engineering & Science

The Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute will lead in the education of our current and future company employees, expand the competency of our workforce to design and protect secure physical cyber systems, including those in electric and autonomous vehicles.

—Kevin Tierney, vice president of Global Cybersecurity at General Motors and chairman of the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center

Program options to fill cybersecurity needs

Curriculum for the consortium will be developed with the workforce in mind. It includes associate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees, stackable graduate certificates, hands-on laboratory training and cybersecurity immersion camps for high school students.

Curriculum for vehicle cybersecurity

Led by Detroit Mercy, the vehicle cybersecurity consortium consists of multiple academic institutions in southeast Michigan and includes University of Arizona as a research partner. This consortium is designed to expand and enhance the cybersecurity engineering workforce through an applied curriculum developed in consultation with industry partners. The consortium also supports upskilling and reskilling for vehicle cybersecurity by prioritizing underrepresented populations, military personnel and veterans. Instruction is scheduled to begin this fall.

The award comes through Griffiss Institute’s Virtual Institutes for Cyber and Electromagnetic Spectrum Research and Employ (VICEROY) program, which establishes cyber institutes at higher learning institutions with the purpose of critical cyber operational skill development for future military and civilian leaders.

The Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute initially includes Detroit Mercy, pipeline institutions Washtenaw Community College, Oakland Community College and Macomb Community College, and University of Arizona, which will provide research support to the consortium through its research institute that was established in 2014.

University of Michigan and Henry Ford College will join the consortium as it enters its second phase during the 2023-24 academic year.

Detroit Mercy's foundation in engineering and cybersecurity

Detroit Mercy is experienced in electrical engineering and computer science, autonomous and electric vehicle and cybersecurity-related curricula, offering students a variety of undergraduate, graduate and certificate options through the College of Engineering & Science as well as the University’s Center for Cybersecurity & Intelligence Studies.

In addition to the Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute, Detroit Mercy’s College of Engineering & Science leads several consortiums, including ReBUILDetroit, iDRAW and Fly-CURE.

Detroit Mercy’s commitment to helping veterans and military personnel achieve success has been recognized both locally and nationally, earning high marks from Military Friendly Schools and the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. The University has also been designated a Center of Academic Excellence by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency.

Learn more about Detroit Mercy’s College of Engineering & Science.


For more information or questions about the curriculum, contact:

Paul Spadafora
Director of Professional Engineering Programs
spadafpa@udmercy.edu

or

Valarie Glisson
(313) 993-1128
glissovs@udmercy.edu