Recently, university leadership, industry partners, and members of the intelligence community gathered to celebrate the Virginia Tech National Security Institute’s formation at Deloitte’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“We are becoming an engine of education and innovation here at the heart of democracy in the greater Washington, D.C., area,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands to the audience. “Our growth in national security research positions us to anticipate and respond to change in a rapidly evolving world.”

Kristine Korva, principal and Deloitte Government and Public Services Intelligence Subsector leader, welcomed attendees to the event and shared that the company was looking forward to further exploring collective talent, resources, and commitments, with Virginia Tech at the helm.

Vice President for Research and Innovation Dan Sui, who emceed the event, noted that it was exciting to be together, in-person, to celebrate the important milestone for Virginia Tech.

The university also launched its sesquicentennial celebration — another milestone — marking 150 years since its founding as a Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1872.  

“As we reflect on our past – we’re looking to the future, and our evolution as a 21st-century land-grant institution,” Sands said. “We are a nimble research university with deep roots in service to our nation, combined with a commonwealth-wide responsibility as a land-grant university, which positions us uniquely to expand our impact through the National Security Institute.” 

Formally launched in September, the Virginia Tech National Security Institute builds on 12 years of secure research and learning programs catalyzed with an endowment from Virginia Tech alumnus Ted Hume, who along with his wife, is the namesake of the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology. Additionally, the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation (VT-ARC) has developed a complementary portfolio of technical services work for the government and applied research that leverages technology developed at Virginia Tech. 

Today, this intentional body of technical and applied research is supported by faculty and staff at the institute working with more than 800 students, from six Virginia Tech colleges.  

“Together, [with the Hume Center and VT-ARC], we’ve produced innovative technologies —  like those that underpin the seven startups – backed by nearly $300 million in venture capital — that came from inventions from Virginia Tech researchers,” said Eric Paterson, Virginia Tech National Security Institute director.

Inventions from National Security Institute researchers and faculty members at Virginia Tech are supported by the university’s LINK+LICENSE+LAUNCH’s team who bring breakthrough discoveries to market and engage with industry partners.

Experiential learning fostered by faculty experts is the foundation of innovation at Virginia Tech, which uniquely positions the university among other national security entities. 

Partnerships with government and corporate organizations combined with hands-on learning is facilitated by Hume Scholarships, programs like the Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence, industry- and government-supported vertically-integrated projects, and traditional graduate thesis and dissertations prepare Virginia Tech graduates to serve the needs of the nation, explained Paterson.

In the institute, researchers will work with students to accelerate technology development, which will be further demonstrated and commercialized in service of bettering the human experience.

“Our future leadership relies on building on our strengths — the strengths of our higher education and research enterprise — and adapting to a new century of technology and complexity,” said Tish Long, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. “We must simultaneously accelerate the development of the next technological advancement while training the workforce who will make those innovations a reality. We can’t focus solely on technology. We must engage all of the instruments of power to ensure the future of American security.”

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