Raleigh, N.C. — The National Security Agency plans to create a data analysis lab on North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus, officials said Thursday.
The $60.75 million NSA grant to fund the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences is the largest sponsored research contract in the university’s history, officials said, and the lab is expected to bring 100 jobs to the Triangle over the next several years and attract related government and industry projects.
Other details for the new lab weren't disclosed for security reasons, officials said. Access to the lab will be restricted to people who have government security clearance, but some of the fundamental research will be conducted at the unclassified level in existing faculty labs, they said.
“We appreciate the confidence of the National Security Agency to select N.C. State for this groundbreaking endeavor," Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a statement. "Not only will it enhance the academic experience for our students and faculty, it will also add to the economic prosperity of our community through new jobs, new industry and new partnerships.”
A key goal of the lab is to promote advances in the science of data analysis through collaborations among industry, academia and government, officials said.
N.C. State’s expertise in handling "big data" ranges from its Institute for Advanced Analytics, which offers an intensive 10-month master's degree – the first program of its kind – to its Center for Innovative Management Studies, which examines the trends and technologies surrounding big data. The university also has traditional strengths in computer science, mathematics and statistics and is hiring four faculty members for its new data-driven science “cluster.”
The university already has a major collaborative project on cybersecurity with the NSA, and it has numerous research contracts with the Department of Defense, from technology that can best help soldiers identify improvised explosive devices from a distance to fire-protection research to help soldiers and first responders to a language training center that works to improve the language skills, regional expertise and intercultural communication skills of military personnel.