Dakota State announces $90M cyber-research initiative

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 9:30 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Dakota State University’s announcement Wednesday lays out a public-private partnership plan between the university, the city of Sioux Falls, and the State of South Dakota to place a larger cyber footprint in the state’s largest city.

The university announced a $90 million push to expand it’s cyber-research abilities and education in Madison, and construct a new cybersecurity research center in Sioux Falls. Dakota State President José-Marie Griffiths said the expansion of their efforts into Sioux Falls will help place South Dakota on the map of cyber-research, and help place hundreds of jobs into the community.

“We will propel South Dakota to be recognized as a key contributor to national security and defense. The accumulated expertise, the cyber-research brain trust if you will, will be located in South Dakota.” said Griffiths.

In Madison, plans are underway to expand DSU’s capacity of graduates from its Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences, and launch the Governor’s Cyber Academy to offer dial credit programs to high school students statewide.

The new Sioux Falls Center will be located on up to 16 acres of land donated by Sanford Health at the Sanford Sports Complex. The center will be owned by the State via the Board of Regents and DSU, and will support 400 to 500 full-time jobs. The Sioux Falls location will also be the center for a new non-profit corporation to hire DSU-Applied Research Lab staff to perform and manage the applied research, and lease space in both Madison and Sioux Falls.

“That which they continue to drive as they push forward for greater innovation, is also going to continue to benefit, and I believe benefit even greater healthcare into the future.” said Sanford President & CEO Bill Gassen.

“As we keep diversifying our economy, and I think Sioux Falls has done a good job of that historically, this is an incredible win for economic diversification in Sioux Falls.” said Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken.

Of the $90 million that the project expects to use, $50 million will be donated over five years from T. Denny Sanford, focused on constructing the new Sioux Falls facility. $10 million is expected to come from the city of Sioux Falls to help create the physical and organizational infrastructure for the Sioux Falls center. $30 million is expected to come from the State of South Dakota, proposed from Gov. Noem in her FY23 budget request.

State leaders said the expansion of Dakota State’s efforts to increase and attract cyber security professionals is an investment into the state, especially as more and more services require the need for cyber security.

“That’s exactly what we’re doing here today is ensuring that we will educate our students here with the highest education possible in this field, so that they can stay and work here, and continue to provide that kind of professional support.” said Gov. Kristi Noem.

“Today more than ever, we have a responsibility to make certain that the United States is protected from nation states and cyber criminals who wish to do us harm.” said Sen. Mike Rounds.

The new non-profit is expected to launch in the summer of 2023, while the Sioux Falls center is expected to open in the fall of 2025. The budgeted funds from both the city of Sioux Falls and the State of South Dakota are conditional on the Sioux Falls City Council and State Legislature approving the requests, respectfully.

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