Federal Funding Expands Reach of KINBER to Three Local Colleges

Harrisburg, PA (March. 7) — Building upon the groundwork established by its community educational efforts and initial National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER) is working with three Pennsylvania NSF 2015 Campus Cyberinfrastructure – Data, Networking, and Innovation (CC*DNI) awardees to strengthen campus cyberinfrastructure in the commonwealth. Bucks County Community College, Franklin & Marshall College, and Harrisburg Area Community College received grants totaling more than $900,000 to seed campus innovation. The two community colleges are currently the first and only community colleges nationwide to receive campus cyberinfrastructure awards.

“Campus cyberinfrastructure supports science research and education, and enhancing its performance on these campuses provides expanded opportunities for the students, faculty and community members,” said Wendy Huntoon, KINBER CEO and president.

“I am thrilled that our efforts helped PA schools receive three out of the seven awards distributed nationally in the area of campus design, and KINBER will continue to encourage innovation by connecting Pennsylvania organizations to national and state resources, providing expertise, and offering opportunities for collaboration,” she added. A total of 36 CC*DNI awards in seven different areas were distributed to date in response to the 2015 solicitation.

In February 2014, KINBER began providing training and support for PA organizations to submit grants to federal funders, such as the NSF with outreach including direct support continuing under KINBER’s NSF grant, awarded in March 2015. To date, KINBER’s activities have included webinars, in person trainings, sharing announcements and direct support. KINBER’s efforts increased the awareness and accessibility of these types of funding opportunities as well as provided guidance and best practices on how to submit an effective proposal.

The three awardees identified a diverse set of projects that would benefit from the new infrastructure.

Energizing the Future of STEM@Bucks

Bucks County Community College (Bucks) was awarded nearly $350,000 to create a high-throughput science research network to support Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) faculty and students. Proposed as part of the initiative are upgrades to Bucks campus cyberinfrastructure to support research with a Science DMZ to prioritize data transfers among systems located at Bucks benefitting projects investigating improved forms of image recognition, applied engineering, and other computational sciences; offers an outdoor high performance Wi-Fi network as a Science DMZ extension; and access to Internet2 to support faculty and student research through the statewide education network.

Bucks’ lead institution partner, the University of Pennsylvania, is aiding with design and technical services and will provide Bucks students and faculty access to scientific domains at a level not previously available, extending intellectual opportunities. Additionally, with advanced manufacturing, nursing and other science-related activity in the county and surrounding area, the Science DMZ indirectly benefits the people, educational institutions and businesses of the region.

In response to the grant award, Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt, president, Bucks County Community College, said, “We at Bucks are very excited about the capabilities that this grant is providing for the sciences. By upgrading our cyberinfrastructure, faculty and students will have access to resources previously unimaginable. The resulting educational benefits will serve our students and this region well. KINBER and the University of Pennsylvania have been great partners with us in this endeavor.”

CC*DNI Campus Design: Building a State-Of-The-Art Research Network at Franklin and Marshall College

“KINBER has been a really strategic partner in this effort,” said Carrie Rampp, associate vice president & CIO, Franklin & Marshall College.

“Not only did we learn of this possible opportunity through KINBER, but I doubt we would have applied if it wasn’t for the support and advice we received,” she said.

The $350,000 award funds both planning and implementation of a number of network infrastructure initiatives that will directly benefit scientific research. In a context where undergraduates work in close partnership with faculty researchers, students also directly benefit from access to a network optimized for data exchange with researchers at universities worldwide.

Franklin and Marshall will realize these improvements through the creation of a Science DMZ, DTN and deployment of end-to-end performance monitoring. This work will optimize the college’s local area network in support of high-performance scientific applications, maximizing the rate at which data can move on campus and between institutions to levels researchers would only typically expect at an R1 institution and strengthen current and future research support for faculty via collaboration with KINBER, a Pennsylvania-wide education and research computing network.

During Fall 2015 Franklin and Marshall began work in partnership with KINBER in planning the Science DMZ, data transfer node and perfSONAR deployment. Completed to date was the college’s move to a 10 Gbps connection to KINBER, which has provided first-time access to the Internet2 backbone. The college became a full member of Internet2; a first step in the components of the project that focuses on new experimentation with off-site high performance computing solutions that were not previously possible.

“We are really pleased that KINBER is serving as our strategic partner during the planning and implementation phase and that they were willing to serve in this role, which is specifically required and defined by the NSF, Rampp said. “KINBER’s expertise has been invaluable and the staff also helped to connect us to other institutions that might serve as examples in our planning.”

CC*DNI Campus Design: Midtown WAN Redesign for GIS and CIS Science Research at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College 

Robert Messner, vice president of Information Technology & CIO, HACC, said, “The CC*DNI award will allow our college to increase our wide-area network connectivity by a factor of 10 between the Midtown and Harrisburg Campus locations, ensuring that our STEM students are provided the most reliable and robust connectivity necessary for their continued success.”

HACC will use the $209,000 award to re-architect its network infrastructure to expand science and technology classroom connectivity from 100 Mbps to 1Gbps. As a result of this project, HACC students and faculty will have access to online educational materials in one place, accessible from anywhere and the ability to learn remotely and use time on campus efficiently. This project supports the implementation of HACC’s science and technology symposia, current and potential grant-funded projects, service and research projects and mobile learning course-content production.

HACC will be better able to prepare an educated workforce for Pennsylvania’s key industries, including energy, technology, manufacturing and agribusiness. This model can be a foundation for HACC’s other campuses and other regional institutions to implement similar projects and programs to support STEM education.

“The partnership with KINBER on this grant was critical as it provided our college the necessary information, services and framework to successfully respond to the rigid grant criteria and obtain the award,” said Messner.

“I look forward to working with KINBER during the implementation of this grant’s objectives and to expanding our partnership by identifying additional services offered which will provide value to our college,” he added.

In support of its mission, KINBER will continue to provide training and guidance for colleges which plan to seek grants to enhance research and education.

“I encourage others in the state to submit proposals for either the next campus cyberinfrastructure round and/or other infrastructure funding opportunities,” Huntoon said.

Visit the NSF CC*DNI page to read the complete abstracts for each award.

To learn more about how KINBER can support your organization’s cyberinfrastructure initiatives as well as upcoming events, including KINBERCON 2016, KINBER’s annual conference taking place in Philadelphia on April 11 – 13, 2016, visit

Press Release

MCNC ready to make North Carolina most connected state in the country February 25, 2016

MCNC, the non-profit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), today unveiled strategic priorities to help make North Carolina the most connected state in the nation over the next four years by further reinforcing that reliable, fast, affordable and ubiquitous Internet access is a basic requirement of being a productive citizen in the 21st century.

Technology and broadband connectivity play a massive role in the everyday lives of North Carolina citizens. Guided by innovation, economic development, security, relationships with state government and thought leadership, MCNC is transforming into an organization that provides not just high-speed, broadband networking on NCREN but other value-added services and technology solutions for many key education and business verticals across the state.

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MCNC will be expanding upon existing services for K-20 education in North Carolina in addition to local community anchor institutions, non-profit healthcare, and state and local governments. MCNC also plans to support the state’s ability to provide the most robust next-generation public safety network in the nation as well as advance the educational transformation already underway in North Carolina via infrastructure and technology services. Another key priority for MCNC is to address and strengthen rural broadband connectivity and access throughout North Carolina.

“There are still significant areas of rural North Carolina where high-speed Internet is not available to local residents, and this is simply unacceptable in today’s world,” said MCNC President and CEO Jean Davis. “Hospitals, schools, businesses, and residents in these areas of the state deserve nothing less than the ability to connect and compete in today’s global marketplace. MCNC has outlined connectivity priorities for the state to support these growth markets so consumers can see more competition, lower costs, and better overall services.”

MCNC’s vision through 2020 and beyond is to leverage NCREN to expand stakeholder engagement in MCNC’s constituent community while creating unprecedented opportunities for North Carolinians where they live, access education, seek economic gain, participate in their governance, and access health care.

“MCNC has built the nation’s most future-proof network for the entire state of North Carolina, but success in deployment does not mean just installing fiber networks in rural areas,” said Tom Rabon, chairman of MCNC Board of Directors. “These communities need an active partner like MCNC to convene both public and private entities to assist those communities seeking to accelerate their broadband-based economies.”

MCNC currently provides connectivity, transport, data center services, video services, client network engineering, identity management, and other high-quality, reliable services to meet the evolving needs of customers. MCNC’s new strategic plan is customer-focused and has been designed collaboratively through a series of interactions with constituents.


About MCNC
MCNC, a technology nonprofit that builds, owns and operates the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), has served research, education, non-profit health care and other community institutions with Internet connectivity in the state for more than 30 years. NCREN is the fundamental broadband infrastructure for more than 500 of these institutions including all K-20 education in North Carolina. As one of the nation’s premier middle-mile networks, MCNC leverages high-speed fiber on NCREN to customize Internet services and related applications for each customer while supporting private service providers in bringing cost-efficient connectivity to rural and underserved communities in North Carolina. Visit or connect on Facebook, @MCNC, YouTube, Google+, or LinkedIn.

The Quilt, Internet2 InCommon Pilot Program reveals insights for scaling identity services to K-12 communities February 23, 2016

Internet2 and The Quilt InCommon K-14 Identity Federation Pilot Program, led across the country by 10 organizations, revealed insights for scaling identity services to K-12 communities. The pilot programs were conducted by state research and education networks and state-base agencies for the purposes of learning about and enabling K-12 access to federated services.

The participants found that K-12 organizations and community colleges can benefit from simplified access to shared online services, but often lack the resources to implement the federated identity solutions that have proven successful in higher education. The pilots also revealed that collaborations and coordination across states and regions can enhance efforts to enable more efficient access to shared online services in the K-14 arena.

The research was detailed in a recent whitepaper.

Participating in an identity federation such as Internet2’s InCommon Federation has significant benefits for educational institutions, providing a common framework for trusted shared management of access to online resources. Reducing staff and service integration costs, increasing security, and enabling students ease of access are just a few of the long-term benefits that the pilot participants saw as helping to serve K-12.

To conduct the pilots, Internet2 provided education, technology guidance, and connections to industry partners and collaborated with regional networks to engage their members on federation and provide guidance for the specific pilots.

“Each of the pilots developed and shared their plans for proving a targeted approach to K-14 federation and were successful in achieving their initial goals and objectives. Several of the pilots worked with industry partners in forming their plans and providing identity services to their constituents,” said George Laskaris, President and CEO of the New Jersey’s Research and Education Network (NJEDGE.Net), Quilt Board of Directors member, Internet2/Quilt InCommon pilots leader, 2013-2015. “We were pleased with the results of the collaborative efforts and are eager to see the work move forward.”

“Scaling the InCommon Federation to serve K-14 is a significant challenge. The regionals in the pilot have been instrumental in working with us to identify tools and business approaches to do this and collaborate on subsequent activities to address it. We thank the organizations who took part in this work, it is truly exciting to bring the benefits of InCommon to more students and educators across the country,” said Kevin M. Morooney, Internet2, vice president, trust & identity programs.

The pilots, which began in February, 2013, were conducted by:

  • Illinois: NCSA and IlliniCloud
  • North Carolina: MCNC
  • Maryland: MDREN
  • Michigan: Merit
  • Nebraska: ESUCC
  • Ohio: OARnet
  • Utah: UETN
  • Wisconsin – WiscNet

Access additional information about each pilot program and its results.

Attend an upcoming webinar detailing pilot program results.