The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

The Center for Education and Research in
Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

Sponsor Guidelines and Rationale

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CERIAS is the first information security (infosec) education and research center of its kind in the world. It is a multidisciplinary center, formed in 1998 as an expansion and enhancement of the COAST Laboratory, which was established in 1992 in the Department of Computer Sciences at Purdue University. CERIAS is designed to address a broader scope of education, research and development efforts on issues pertaining to cyber and cyber-physical security, information assurance, resiliency, privacy, forensics, artificial intelligence, autonomy, and trusted electronics. Our affiliated faculty represent areas like computer science, engineering, linguistics, business management, sociology, criminology, political science, and ethics. CERIAS maintains active relationships with over 100 faculty representing 18 academic departments across 8 colleges and 4 campuses of Purdue University.

The goals of CERIAS are to initiate, support, and pursue innovative research projects whose results will advance the state of knowledge and practice in all aspects of cybersecurity, to establish leading educational programs, and to operate as a recognized center of excellence serving the public. Our extensive interaction with industry and government enhances the research and educational environment at CERIAS, and provides mechanisms for informed feedback and technology transfer. This interaction benefits CERIAS, its partners, and other constituents .

Program Description

The CERIAS Strategic Partnership Program is designed to foster direct communication and promote mutually beneficial relationships among members of the government, industry and academic communities. The broad goal of the program is to advance the state of the art and the state of practice in information security. With an active technology transfer program, CERIAS partners are able to significantly leverage existing resources, experiences, and relationships, while gaining access to an established and highly respected set of academic research laboratories. Participation provides partners access to security experts, interaction with other center partners, early access to research findings and graduate students, and an opportunity to influence the center's direction and growth. Partners provide the center with on-going funding, not dependent on sole-source support. It also enhances researcher access to innovative tools and professional resources cognizant of marketplace needs, as well as support for student research-related activities. Being a CERIAS Strategic Partner requires two forms of participation: capital support and active participation in CERIAS activities.

Capital Support

Capital support of CERIAS is by voluntary contribution, renewable on an annual basis. In general, gifts-in-kind (including equipment donations) are seldom accepted, and only by special arrangement with the CERIAS Executive Director. At most, the retail value of such gifts may not represent more than 50% of the contribution required for any given level of partnership outlined below. Contractual support may also be applicable on a per case basis, and only when the support is for CERIAS as a whole and not for a specific project; conventional contract support can also be arranged. The CERIAS Strategic Partnership Program leverages existing Purdue University support of the CERIAS, government research funding, and the support provided by other partners and donors. We operate at a level that allows partner support to leverage against at least 20 times the partner contribution.

Active Participation

A CERIAS partnership is a cooperative venture. To guarantee the best results, each partner should designate a primary contact. This representative will serve as the primary administrative contact between the partner and CERIAS. Usually a member of the partner’s upper management team, the primary contact's role is to oversee the total benefits of the program, making sure they complement the strategic goals of the partner organization. The primary contact is the person responsible for managing the details of the organization's participation in the center, and for working with the CERIAS Manager of Corporate Relations to ensure that partner needs and expectations are met. In addition, partnering organizations should appoint a working contact. Typically a technical manager, this individual is responsible for ongoing interactions with the CERIAS and his/her organization. All technical communication between partner personnel and CERIAS personnel is expected to flow through the working contact. For some partners, the primary contact and the working contact will be the same person.

To provide the most benefit to CERIAS, and thus also to the partner, each partners primary contact will be strongly encouraged to engage in as many of the following activities as possible:

  • provide timely feedback to requests from CERIAS personnel about CERIAS publications, prototypes, and research needs so as to help provide direction to CERIAS research;
  • arrange a visit by a technical representative of the partner to the CERIAS at Purdue at least once each year to meet with researchers and students to discuss on-going research issues;
  • seek to identify opportunities to invite CERIAS personnel to partner locations for colloquia and other events, and to identify partner personnel who might be willing to visit Purdue to deliver technical colloquia;
  • volunteer information on trends, issues, and needs in information security outside of academia;
  • seek opportunities within the partner organization to provide suitable internship positions to qualified CERIAS students, both graduate and undergraduate (as appropriate);
  • assist CERIAS personnel in identifying and obtaining resources and technology useful to CERIAS goals but not currently available at Purdue University (as appropriate).

Tier 1 partners are invited to nominate individuals to serve on the CERIAS External Advisory Board. This board meets at least annually to advise the Executive Director. The EAB provides feedback on current and future center activities, as well as advice on proposed research projects. In addition to influencing the direction of information security research and education, these meetings provide partnering organizations an opportunity to interact with security professionals from a variety of organizations as well as from CERIAS.

Strategic Partnership Benefits

Working together with our partners, we strive for excellence in each area of our threefold mission of discovery, learning and engagement. Our program fosters mutually beneficial, long-term relationships among our partners, faculty and students. Among other benefits, our partners enjoy high visibility within CERIAS community and CERIAS faculty and students benefit from resources and expertise provided by the partner community.

Membership fees are used to support costs associated with CERIAS operations including funding for research projects and student assistance programs. Partnering with CERIAS is an opportunity to shape the future practices of cyber security, as well as to guide cybersecurity professionals. Partnership gives organizations the opportunity to keep up with emerging developments that may be applied to business, government, and individuals. The benefits outlined below, ranging from finding prospective employees among our student body to participating in on-campus research and educational efforts, are services offered to partnering organizations.

In addition to these benefits, the CERIAS Manager of Corporate Relations will respond to specific requests for assistance, and will forward relevant information in a proactive manner to help members forge useful contacts within the CERIAS community.

Strategic Partnership Benefit Grid


Benefit CERIAS
Opportunity to deliver at least one technical presentation at Purdue annually YES YES
Featured placement on associated websites, in Center publications, and at related events during the time of partnership YES LIMITED LIMITED LIMITED
Seat on External Advisory Board YES


Benefit CERIAS
Host customized workshops at member site at cost YES
Opportunity to participate in joint projects or proposals YES LIMITED LIMITED LIMITED
Opportunity to place research personnel at CERIAS sites YES
Brokered access to CERIAS partner institutions YES
Opportunity to establish one or more research offices at CERIAS Extra Cost
Opportunities to receive faculty consulting Limited/Extra Cost
Opportunities for exchanges of researchers YES
Early access to selected CERIAS publications and research before public release YES


Benefit CERIAS
Copies of resumes and placement reports of CERIAS students YES YES YES
Assistance in targeting CERIAS students for internship and permanent employment opportunities YES YES Limited


Benefit CERIAS
Member fees and other support may be tax deductible YES YES YES
Access to Center members, faculty, students, facilities, outreach programs YES LIMITED LIMITED
Discounted admissions to CERIAS-hosted workshops and seminars YES Up to 2 People ONE PERSON
Opportunities for preferential IP licensing YES LIMITED


Tier III membership is limited to start-up Indiana-headquartered companies.

Annual gift of less than $30,000, one-time gift of less than $30,000, gifts in-kind without a cash donation to meet a regular partner level. Membership fees are provided as unrestricted gifts to Purdue University, a non-profit public institution. These gifts may be tax deductible for some members. This document should not be considered tax advice. Gift checks should be made payable to the Purdue Foundation and remitted to:

Attn: Jerry Haan
Purdue University CERIAS
Recitation Building, Room 217
656 Oval Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2086

Example Interactions

Here are some examples of interactions between students and faculty at Purdue with CERIAS partner organizations:

  • Contributed to a workshop on using security tools at a partner's company security day.
  • Researched security implications for a company considering switching over to using a new protocol company-wide.
  • Consulted with a company's security staff to help them understand and recover from a major break-in from outside the country.
  • Evaluated a series of different firewalls from several vendors to provide feedback on a purchase decision for a partner.
  • Provided beta testing for a firewall manufacturer. The vendor ended up hiring one of our grads as a lead engineer on their project.
  • Conducted an in-depth on-site penetration test of a partner system.
  • Performed a group penetration test in-house on a partner's OS code.
  • Developed a series of new cryptographic algorithms for watermarking proprietary scientific data for a partner.
  • A student spent a summer internship installing intrusion detection tools on-site, and helping to track down intruders from a break-in.
  • Installed and tested commercial scanning software to assist a partner in product evaluation. The CERIAS team found flaws in the software. Because of the team's tests and advice, the partner decided not to purchase the product.
  • Provided prototypes of two tools developed locally. These went to several partners, and one is using them as part of a testbed to develop their own tools.
  • Personnel have provided technology review workshops at partner sites, to comment on security plans and research, and provide feedback.
  • Developed customized, in-depth training materials on writing secure software that have been taught to developers inside the partner company.
  • Partnered on a large DoD RFP to help make the partner's bid more competitive.
  • Reviewed drafts of some partner training materials prior to final printing for purposes of correction and enhancement.

Partnership Levels

Founding Partners

This level of partnership is no longer open. It was a special opportunity for companies to help establish the new offices and program of CERIAS during its first full year of operation (until June 30, 1999).


This special level of partnership was created for organizations wishing to have a substantial impact on the practice of cybersecurity research and education. A donation of $3 million or more to CERIAS, made over a period of not more than 2 years qualified organizations for patron status. In addition to special recognition of the partner, this will be considered as a fully paid-up Tier I partnership (if desired) for the life of the center, or 50 years, whichever comes first.

Any funding establishing named/distinguished professorships in cybersecurity at Purdue can qualify for up to 1/2 of this donation amount.

Tier 1 Partners

Annual gift of $60,000 or more to CERIAS

Tier 2 Partners

Annual gift of $30,000-$59,999 to CERIAS

Tier 3 Partners

Annual gift of $15,000-$29,999 to CERIAS (Note: Tier III partners must be emerging companies based in Indiana.)


Annual gift of less than $30,000 to the CERIAS, one-time gift of less than $30,000, or gifts of equipment or software without a cash donation to meet a regular partner level.

Nature of the Partnership Fee

The partnership fee is an unrestricted gift to the Purdue Foundation, on behalf of the CERIAS 1 . Partners cannot place any constraints on the precise manner in which this gift is expended. The likely uses of such monies will be to support faculty, staff and students performing research; to fund publication and software distribution; to send CERIAS personnel to appropriate conferences and professional meetings; to purchase equipment and software for the lab; to cover administrative costs not otherwise covered under sponsored research funding; and for other uses as the CERIAS Executive Director and Internal Policy Board deem appropriate to achieve the goals of CERIAS. Note that all donations will be held and administered in accordance with rules and regulations of Purdue University, laws of the State of Indiana, and US law.

All partnerships are for a 12-month period, with a starting date chosen by mutual agreement between the partner and the CERIAS Executive Director. To renew as a partner, membership fees must be given each year no later than 30 days after the anniversary date of initial membership. For planning purposes, partners are encouraged to indicate their intent to renew no later than 60 days prior to this anniversary date.

For More Information

Contact the Manager of Corporate Relations at CERIAS.

1 As this is a gift to a non-profit organization, there may be tax implications for the partner.

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