National security, health and engineering solutions company Leidos donated $200,000 to this university Wednesday to support high-quality research and education programs, among other things.
The donation from Leidos will support this university’s public health, cybersecurity research, education and engineering programs.
“Leidos chose to invest in UMD due it being one of the premier technical education and research institutions in the country,” said Jim Cantor, senior vice president and chief engineer for Leidos National Security Sector.
Cantor also said that Leidos prefers to focus on universities that are geographically close to its major locations because it affords greater mutual engagements, including internship programs and joint research.
Patrick O’Shea, vice president and chief research officer at this university, expressed happiness toward the investment.
“I am really delighted,” O’Shea said. “The part that impresses me the most is its full spectrum. It impacts students and faculty. It’s amazing how broad the engagement is.”
A new program, the UMD-Leidos Seed Grant Program, has already been launched thanks to the donation, he said.
O’Shea said the program will be providing two awards of up to $50,000 each, and the recipients are expected to be announced in October.
“It will help stimulate research,” he said. “We’re interested in innovative and creative ideas from our faculty.”
One of the programs the donation will support is the student-run Bitcamp — a hackathon that drew more than 1,000 students in its first event last April.
Tochi Eni-Kalu, the sponsorship director for Bitcamp, said that this is an exciting development for not only Bitcamp but also the university community as a whole.
“It will not only benefit instruction and research, but will also help create a platform for hackers, hackathon attendees, to create novelty,” the junior economics major said.
Eni-Kalu said that all the funds Bitcamp will receive from Leidos will go “towards making Bitcamp 2015 awesome.” The event is tentatively set for January.
The gift will support other interests, including diversity in STEM programs; the electrical and computer engineering department; the epidemiology and biostatistics department; the computer science department; talent development programs at the engineering school; the University Career Center; membership in the Maryland Cybersecurity Center Corporate Partner Program; and the Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation.
“Leidos’ investment not only provides critical resources and opportunities for students and faculty at institutions like UMD, it strengthens the nation as we work to maintain a strong high-tech research and manufacturing capability that is fundamental to our national security,” Cantor said.