LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The University of Arkansas Little Rock will soon become better equipped to help fight cyberattacks, thanks to a one-million-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The grant will allow students to broaden their research into cyberattacks against energy systems.

A university representative said 10 students from UA Little Rock and the University of Arkansas will work with members of the Forge Institute’s Emerging Threat Center in Little Rock to help defend companies in Arkansas against cyberattacks.

Cyberattacks are a problem that energy officials said is both a local and national issue. Forge Institute CEO and Chairman Lee Watson spoke on the goal of the research.

“This research is giving us new capabilities to improve the intelligence sharing process which we think is key to getting ahead of what the adversaries are doing,” Watson said.

UA Little Rock Associate Professor of Cybersecurity Philip Huff spoke on the new potential for cybersecurity education because of the grant.

“By bringing the community together we develop the workforce potential in cybersecurity. Almost all of the million dollars goes to student opportunities, research and working with utility companies in the state of Arkansas,” Huff said.

UA Little Rock officials said the school also plans to expand their online cybersecurity education and training platform, referred to as the Cyber Arena, to provide a learning environment where community members can access research data on demand.

This will allow the ability for open communication between the center and the community to detect potential cybersecurity threats.