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NC State University’s Industry Expansion Solutions (IES), the administrator for the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP), today announced it has received a grant to establish a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education Coordination Network (ATE-CN) to develop and advance technician training at the convergence of robotics/automation and cybersecurity.

With more and more manufacturing facilities using advanced automation and robots, technicians need the ability to recognize potential cyber threats. Creating and delivering training content will enable technicians to better understand the cyber vulnerabilities of a manufacturer’s technology. They will also understand the measures required to protect manufacturing equipment, processes and intellectual property and be prepared to prevent downtime and other negative impacts of cyber-attacks.

The new network, Advanced Technological Education Coordination Network for Knowledge Sharing in Robotics/Automation and Cybersecurity, will bring together organizations including IES, community colleges, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnerships and Manufacturing USA® Institutes.

The intent is to develop a network that convenes community college faculty, industry, researchers and other stakeholders to collaborate across multiple geographic locations. Training materials developed through the network, as well as relevant materials previously developed by network members, will be made available to others through a website/portal, providing a robust repository of materials.

Network members include: NC State Industry Expansion Solutions, NCMEP, Central Piedmont Community College, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Wake Technical Community College, Montcalm Community College, Moraine Valley Community College, Spartanburg Community College, the North Carolina Community College System, the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, the Digital Manufacturing Institute, the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership.