Team8, an Israeli cybersecurity think tank and company creation platform founded by veterans of the elite IDF intelligence unit 8200, has partnered with the University of Tulsa (TU) to launch an advanced degree program that will serve as a new route for both parties to tap into talent and develop breakthrough technology innovation in cybersecurity, they announced in a joint statement on Wednesday.
The TU-Team8 Cyber Fellows program will enroll 10 students per year in a four-year doctoral degree and will “bring together TU’s College of Engineering & Natural Sciences and Team8’s ecosystem and experience to identify and explore key industry challenges in real-world situations,” the parties said.
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Founded in 2014, Team8 has launched a number of successful cybersecurity companies including Illusive Networks, which develops deception tech to detect hacking attacks, Claroty, which provides advanced solutions to secure critical infrastructure systems, Hysolate, a creator of a “hybrid” endpoint architecture technology, and Sygnia, a military-grade cyber consulting and incident response company acquired by Singapore’s Temasek for a reported $250 million.
Team8 also set up a fund of some $85 million – backed by Walmart, Softbank, Scotiabank, Barclays, M-12, Microsoft’s venture-capital arm, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Temasek and Nokia, among others – to build cybersecurity and data companies over the next few years.
The foundry is dually headquartered in Tel Aviv and New York.
Team8 co-founder and CEO Nadav Zafrir said in a statement that the program “creates a unique opportunity to help students develop advanced transformative technologies and solutions that hold the potential to significantly impact the most pressing challenges of our digital world.”
“Cyber attacks pose a dangerous threat to our banking, retail, health and energy sectors,” said TU President Gerard P. Clancy in a statement. “There is a critical need to expand cyber research, innovation and entrepreneurship to thwart such attacks and to ensure the quality of cyber services, vendors and products in supply chains, manufactured products and insurance ratings. TU and Team8 are helping to fill the void.”
The university, a private research institution, said the program is expected to draw some of the “brightest minds in cybersecurity to Tulsa, with incentives to stay in the area after completing the program and bolster the city’s burgeoning cyber industry.”
TU is one of several US universities designated as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations by the NSA (National Security Agency)
“The TU-Team8 Cyber Fellows program will play a key role in recruiting Oklahoma’s future job creators and retaining Oklahoma’s most promising STEM students with the opportunity to achieve doctoral degrees,” said Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. “I applaud the innovation and vision of TU and Team8 as we work together as a state to attract and retain the best talent in the technology field.”
The University of Tulsa said a full scholarship for the selected students will cover all tuition expenses, an annual living stipend/salary and the benefits provided to university graduate student employees. Fellows who remain in Tulsa for at least two years after graduation will be eligible for a $20,000 bonus, the university said.
The fellowship is sponsored by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, a Tulsa-based charitable organization.