Virginia Tech National Security Institute
In September 2021, Virginia Tech announced the formation of the Virginia Tech National Security Institute, aspiring to become the nation's preeminent academic organization at the nexus of interdisciplinary research, technology, policy, and talent development to advance national security.
The Virginia Tech National Security Institute will be one of the university’s three thematic research institutes, joining the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC. These institutes bring together exceptional interdisciplinary faculty, unique research infrastructure, and deep relationships and contracts with sponsors to execute impactful research and development. In 2020, researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute executed 17% of Virginia Tech’s sponsored research programs.
Drawing on the experience of its faculty members and experts, the institute will produce research and impact policy related to legal and practical challenges facing national intelligence, defense, law enforcement, homeland security, and cybersecurity communities that are relevant to current questions of national security law and policy and that will aid senior policymakers, key departments, and agencies.
Eric Paterson, world-renowned expert in naval hydrodynamics and 30-year veteran of combined industry and higher education experience, will lead the Virginia Tech National Security Institute as the inaugural executive director.
Paterson has served as interim executive director for the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology for over two years and has led the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering as department head for almost ten years.
In the fiscal year 2020, Virginia Tech’s research enterprise saw growth at $550 million in expenditures and 15% increase in sponsored awards. The Department of Defense is Virginia Tech’s largest source of federal funding with approximately $50 million in fiscal year 2020.
Bringing together transdisciplinary researchers, programs, and resources from across the university, including the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology and the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation (VT-ARC), the institute will integrate student learning and cutting-edge research at a scale, unmatched by other organizations.
The National Security Institute will meet head-on one of the biggest challenges to the national security and technology enterprise: the availability of talent. Further enhancing learned classroom knowledge through internships and co-ops, Virginia Tech has relationships with industry leaders that includes Raytheon, MITRE, Lockheed Martin, and Northrup Gruman, providing Virginia Tech students deeper technical and applied security related experiences.