SUNY Canton Takes Lead in National Science Foundation EPIIC Grant


SUNY Canton has been named the lead institution in a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for six colleges to broaden participation in research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The NSF Enabling Partnerships to Increase Innovation Capacity (EPIIC) Grant filed through the SUNY Research Foundation will bring each institution in the six-college collaborative $400,000 in funding over three years for a $2.4 million investment by the National Science Foundation.

Students working in the Advanced Information Security and Privacy (AISP) lab.

"Our inclusion in the NSF EPIIC Grant serves as a testament to our shared commitment to fostering innovation in higher education," said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. "In collaboration with our partners, we are dedicated to supporting our faculty and students in acquiring the skills and resources they need to expand their research horizons and transform their ideas into entrepreneurial ventures."

In addition to SUNY Canton, the Leveraging Innovation to Grow High Tech and University Partnerships (LIGHT UP) Collaborative is a multi-institution alliance including Rowan College of Burlington County, Marymount University, Alvernia University, Kean University, and Bowie State University. The LIGHT UP Collaborative will develop and enhance the innovation enterprise network at each institution, creating a greater ecosystem within the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States.

"Beyond helping students succeed while in college, we are setting them up to transition from researchers to successful business owners while driving innovation and workforce development in our communities," said SUNY Canton Science, Health and Criminal Justice Dean Michele A. Snyder, Ph.D., the principal investigator on the grant. "Research at SUNY Canton has grown extensively in the past several years. Students can embark on cutting-edge research projects with the support of their faculty members in all three academic schools at the college."

Currently, student research opportunities include measuring the material properties of asphalt within SUNY Canton's Canino School of Engineering Technology; faculty-led psychology and sociology research conducted within the School of Business and Liberal Arts; and Cybersecurity-focused studies conducted through the Advanced Information Security and Privacy (AISP) Lab through the School of Science, Health and Criminal Justice.

Another co-principal investigator is Executive Director of Research and Sponsored Programs Elizabeth Rohr-Adams, CRA. She will be working with the collaborative on securing best practices in research administration, technology transfer and patents. She said the groundbreaking project will assist in increasing undergraduate and community college participation in federal grant competitions and awards. "This project will advance the presence and effectiveness in the research arena of those institutions which are normally underrepresented in national research activities," Rohr-Adams said.

Associate Professor Kambiz Ghazinour, Ph.D., who teaches in the Cybersecurity Program and is one of the college's most prolific researchers, oversees the AISP Lab and was named a co-principal investigator on the NSF grant. Ghazinour is also the founder and part-time CSO of the multi-award-winning startup CyberSpara, Inc., and holds the patent on the company's game-based Digital Privacy and Security Simulation (DigitalPASS), a cybersecurity awareness tool.

"The lab collaborates with faculty members nationally and internationally interested in security and privacy," Ghazinour said. "It is part of the college's Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity, and engages intelligent, enthusiastic and highly motivated students working on a series of relevant projects."

Each institution has its objectives, and new efforts will promote innovative teaching, learning and training for faculty and students. Progress towards each college's individual and overall collective goals will be periodically reviewed and assessed through key performance indicators to measure the impact and effectiveness of all six college's collaborative efforts.

"This grant presents a wonderful opportunity to advance the culture of research and innovation on campus and is a crucial part of our strategic goal to be a leader in economic development in the region," said Vice President for Strategic Relations and Communications Lenore VanderZee, Ph.D., a co-principal investigator for the NSF EPIIC Grant.

About SUNY Canton

As Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs, SUNY Canton delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, management, and healthcare fields. It is home to the Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 23 online degree programs. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity esports and cheerleading.