Automation Alley And Oakland University To Open DOE-Funded Cybersecurity Center

TROY, Mich., June 2023 – Automation Alley has been awarded $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) to create a university-based cybersecurity center in Michigan.

The Oakland University Cybersecurity Center will leverage the expertise of several strategic partners, including Oakland University, Fraunhofer USA, SensCy, and GRIMM Cyber. The team will focus on R&D and insights that will result in capabilities that reduce the risk of power disruption from a cyber-incident for energy delivery systems, and education that enables cybersecurity by design in the energy sector.

This Cybersecurity Center will:

  • Be one of several DOE-funded university-based cybersecurity centers created to enhance the security and resilience of the nation’s critical energy infrastructure.
  • Collaborate with other DOE-funded centers while focusing primarily on the needs in the state of Michigan related to enhancing the security of energy systems.
  • Focus on reducing the impacts of disruptive cybersecurity attacks through preparation, innovation, and collaboration with other government agencies as well as the private sector.
  • Provide opportunities for students to enter cybersecurity careers through internships and apprenticeships in the energy, automotive, and electric/gas utilities industries.
  • Train cybersecurity professionals on how to establish strong protections to prevent bad actors from taking advantage of systems for industrial espionage, intellectual property theft, IP leakage, or even production sabotage.
  • Help develop the workforce in challenging areas including Internet of Things (IoT), Cyber Resilience, digital forensic science, malware analysis and ransomware detection, and other cyber-attacks on cyber-physical systems (CPS) and disinformation detection.

“Companies today face unprecedented cybersecurity risks,” said Tom Kelly, Executive Director and CEO of Automation Alley. “This Cybersecurity Center will address the cybersecurity threats for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies in the energy sector, including the automotive industry and electric/gas utilities providers transitioning to Industry 4.0. It will provide education, training, and research opportunities to help them predict, detect, and repair cyber-attacks for grid and energy infrastructures.”

“The establishment of a Cybersecurity Center at Oakland University will build upon the momentum we are creating regarding research, curriculum, and community outreach around cybersecurity,” added Marouane Kessentini, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Oakland University. “With this funding, we aim to support critical infrastructure owners and operators while also strengthening our future and current workforce through crucial cybersecurity training.”

“CESER is proud to support regional projects like the Cybersecurity Center at Oakland University,” said CESER Director, Puesh Kumar. “We believe in the power of partnering with academia and industry to enable research opportunities that lead to a more secure energy system in the U.S. and also contribute to the development of our workforce.”

For more information, or to inquire about how your company can get involved, visit


Automation Alley is a nonprofit technology business association and Digital Transformation Insight Center focused on driving the growth and success of businesses in Michigan and beyond through innovation and automation. With a global outlook and a regional focus, we foster a vibrant community of innovators, entrepreneurs, and business leaders through opportunities for collaboration and learning. Our programs and services help businesses develop the skills and expertise needed to effectively jumpstart or accelerate digital transformation. By bringing together industry, academia, and government, we aim to create a dynamic ecosystem that drives innovation and growth across Michigan.

At Automation Alley, our mission is to help businesses thrive in the rapidly changing digital economy by equipping them with the knowledge, insights, and tools to develop a software-first mindset that leverages the power of automation, AI, and other cognitive technologies. We believe that by working together, we can build a stronger, more innovative, and more competitive economy for the future. Visit

Oakland University is a doctoral, Carnegie Classification R2 “High Research Activity” university located in Oakland and Macomb counties, Michigan. The main campus is located on 1,443 acres of scenic land in the Southeast Michigan cities of Rochester Hills and Auburn Hills. Oakland University offers bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees, and certificate programs, and is dedicated to delivering a distinctive college experience. Oakland University is organized into the College of Arts and Sciences (which includes a School of Music, Theatre, and Dance), the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, and the Schools of Business Administration, Education and Human Services, Engineering and Computer Science, Health Sciences, Nursing, and The Honors College. At Oakland, the student experience is enhanced as students work alongside inspired faculty and community mentors in laboratory, field, and corporate workplace settings. Students enjoy small class sizes, countless research and social opportunities, and a high rate of job placement after graduation. In fact, 99 percent of OU graduates stay and work in the state. This rich campus atmosphere is complete with residence halls, Greek life, Division I athletics, and more than 250 student groups that lend to the total college experience. Learn more at

This material is based upon work supported by the Department of Energy Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) under Award Number(s) DE-CR0000023.

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