Skip to Content
FIU receives $3M Department of Energy grant to train next-generation workforce in power, energy and cybersecurity

FIU receives $3M Department of Energy grant to train next-generation workforce in power, energy and cybersecurity

November 1, 2021 at 8:00am

Florida International University’s (FIU) College of Engineering and Computing has received a $3 million U.S. Department of Energy three-year grant to lead an initiative to prepare minority students for careers with national security entities.
The grant from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) will create the Consortium for Research and Education in Power and Energy Systems (CREPES) for Sustainable STEM Workforce. Overseen by the Department of Energy’s Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program, two other Minority Serving Institutions also are part of the consortium - Alabama A&M University and the University of Texas at El Paso.
“FIU is the ideal institution to lead this important consortium given its academic offerings and multidisciplinary research capabilities in STEM,” said John L. Volakis, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “With almost 80 percent of its student body formed of minority students, FIU is also uniquely positioned to recruit and train a diverse student population for the future workforce NNSA seeks.”

Students, faculty members and researchers at the three universities will collaborate with the Sandia National Lab and the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. CREPES, one of 24 NNSA consortiums across the country, is unique in that it focuses on power and energy education and research at the system level of electric power infrastructure. Both play key roles in preserving the U.S.’s domestic and economic security, as they are essential to safeguarding the nation’s citizens and infrastructure.
“Through CREPES at FIU, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students will receive the training and practical experience needed to succeed in the high-demand fields of electrical and nuclear engineering and cyber and information security,” said Sumit Paudyal, CREPES principal investigator at FIU and associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). “NNSA recognizes FIU as an international leader and a top producer of Hispanic and African American engineers in the U.S.”
CREPES will train 48 undergraduate and six graduate students, in addition to one postdoctoral researcher and two tenure-track assistant professors. The consortium also will focus on strengthening the academic and research capabilities of the three Minority Serving Institutions to improve student and postdoctoral research recruitment and retainment efforts in areas of study critical to NNSA’s mission. The team at FIU includes Paudyal, Osama Mohammed, distinguished professor and associate dean of research, Mohammad Ashiqur Rahman, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Trina Fletcher, assistant professor in the School of Universal Computing, Construction and Engineering Education (SUCCEED).