Homeland Security names new university centers of excellence

Homeland Security names new university centers of excellence

The Homeland Security Department today named two new universities as research sites for its Centers of Excellence program.

The University of Minnesota and Texas A&M will share $33 million in grant funding over the next three years to study ways to ensure the safety of the nation's agricultural sectors, said Charles E. McQueary, undersecretary for science and technology.

McQueary made the announcement at the CardTech-SecurTech conference in Washington, where he outlined the department's efforts to use technology in the fight against terrorism. As part of that effort, he also said the department's Advanced Research Projects Agency soon will issue a solicitation for a research program on explosives detection for the nation's rail and trucking industries. The March bombings of commuter trains in Madrid, Spain, spurred the program, he said.

The department's ARPA differs from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in that it focuses on near-term ways to solve immediate problems rather than on long-term research, McQueary said. He added that 90 percent of the agency's spending goes to immediate needs.

The selection of Minnesota and Texas A&M brings to three the number of universities designated as Homeland Security Centers of Excellence. The University of Southern California has received a grant to study the economic consequences of terrorism.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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