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Dakota State announces $90M initiative

January 26, 2022

DSU’s Applied Research Lab (ARL)
Rendering of DSU’s Applied Research Lab (ARL) in Sioux Falls, SD.

On Jan. 26, Dakota State University announced a $90 million initiative to grow the cyber-research industry in South Dakota.

Dakota State is known for its nationally recognized programs in cybersecurity. The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences graduates address the rapidly growing demand for cybersecurity professionals.  However, many leave for the east or west coast for work.  DSU wants more of these graduates to stay here, right in South Dakota, to perform the types of highly specialized work for which they are qualified.

“We see this as an opportunity, a challenge,” said Dakota State University President José-Marie Griffiths.

“We created a vision to expand DSU’s Applied Research Lab (ARL) to stimulate a vibrant cyber-research industry in Sioux Falls which supports national security and defense, offers workforce and economic development opportunities, and establishes South Dakota as a cyber state,” she said.

“But we didn’t stop there. This five-year plan created includes opportunities for Madison and Sioux Falls, through a public/private partnership, which will further our cyber-research efforts,” Griffiths stated.

In Madison

  • Continue to fill DSU’s ARL in Madison to 125-150 full-time jobs.
  • Increase DSU’s capacity to double the number of graduates of The Beacom College from 200 to 400 annually by recruiting and retaining faculty, students, and staff.
  • Expand the cyber talent pipeline and career pathways by launching the Governor’s Cyber Academy to offer dual credit programs to high school students statewide.

In Sioux Falls

  • Expand DSU-ARL with a highly specialized facility which will be owned by the State via the Board of Regents and DSU. This facility is expected to open in the fall of 2025 and support 400 to 500 full-time jobs.
  • Establish a non-profit corporation to hire DSU-ARL staff to perform and manage the applied research and lease space from DSU, both in Madison and Sioux Falls.
  • The new non-profit corporation will also run intensive summer cybersecurity boot camps for students from other universities in South Dakota majoring in cyber-related disciplines such as computer science, computer engineering, software engineering, etc. These are anticipated to start in summer 2023.

The public/private partnerships

  • $50 million over five years from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford to construct a highly specialized facility to house the expanded DSU-ARL in Sioux Falls with an estimated completion date of fall 2025. 
  • 10 to 16 acres of land donated by Sanford Health at the Sanford Sports Complex adjacent to Sanford’s Virtual Care Center.
  • $10 million from the city of Sioux Falls* to create the physical, organizational, and programmatic infrastructure needed for the DSU-ARL in Sioux Falls.
  • $250,000 from Forward Sioux Falls for planning a Cyber/IT Park in Sioux Falls.
  • $30 million from the State of South Dakota proposed by Governor Noem in her FY23 budget request.*  This will expand the educational capacity of The Beacom College in Madison to double the number of graduates from 200 to 400 per year and to launch the Governor’s Cyber Academy statewide to all high schools.

Execution of the Plan will be done by Dakota State University and the South Dakota Board of Regents.

*Pending approval of the governing body.

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