Virginia Cybersecurity Challenge

In partnership with US Ignite, Virginia’s Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) seeks innovative teams from across Virginia to participate in the Virginia Cybersecurity Challenge.


This Challenge seeks submissions from researchers and faculty members at public CCI member universities to develop a cybersecurity solution that leverages unique elements of emerging 5G technologies to provide secure operations or communications in ways not possible on previous generation networks. In the future, secure 5G networks will be the backbone to enable IoT, transportation, automated infrastructure, and other autonomous systems.

To learn more about the Virginia Cybersecurity Challenge and how to apply, please visit the Challenge Homepage.


This is a gated, four-phase Challenge beginning May 5, 2021. This Call for Proposals invites researchers to submit a Phase I white paper by July 16, 2021. Finalists will be awarded funds and an invitation to participate in the next phase.

Throughout the course of the competition, US Ignite and CCI will engage cybersecurity experts, facilitate rapid innovation, and assist with the commercialization of products. Participating teams will have an opportunity to showcase their skills in cybersecurity and learn from other professionals.

Informational Workshop

Check out the recording of the informational workshop held on May 21, 2021 below.


Please contact us at [email protected] with any questions.

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The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) is establishing Virginia as a global center of excellence at the intersection of security, autonomous systems, and data. With a mission of research, innovation, and workforce development, CCI serves as a catalyst for the Commonwealth’s long-term leadership in this sector.

In partnership with CCI, US Ignite will facilitate the Challenge process and coach teams on prototyping and product development as they progress through a multi-phase challenge.

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Challenge Structure

The Virginia Cybersecurity Challenge is a multi-phase competition. The four phases include:

  1. Ideation: May 5, 2021 ー July 16, 2021
  2. Prototype: Aug 2, 2021 ー Jan 21, 2022
  3. Development: Feb 4, 2022 ー Aug 1, 2022
  4. Commercialization: Sep 12, 2022 ー Dec 16, 2022

Participant Eligibility

  • Researchers and faculty members at public institutions of higher education in CCI who are deemed eligible by their home institution to serve as a Principal Investigator (PI) on an external grant are eligible to apply.
  • Applications from under-represented groups are particularly welcome, as are applications from researchers who have not previously engaged with CCI.
  • Students at eligible CCI institutions are encouraged to reach out to researchers who are eligible to serve as a PI to participate in a project. Similarly, Virginia-based researchers are encouraged to recruit interested students to join researcher-led teams and continue on to the commercialization phase.

These competitions will benefit participants and the Commonwealth by:

  • Creating a model for cybersecurity initiatives nationwide.
  • Encouraging Virginia faculty and researchers to take advantage of CCI and other opportunities to explore cybersecurity and computer science.
  • Developing the workforce necessary to maintain the high performance of future IoT infrastructure.
  • Offering talented researchers the opportunity to contribute to and compete in a highly competitive field.
  • Facilitating rapid innovation through four competitive phases.
  • Assisting with the commercialization of winning teams.
  • Generating leading-edge cyber research, jobs, and national visibility.

Learn More and Apply

Questions? Please contact us at [email protected] with any questions.