SI-MORe-OFFN Award connects additional institutions to Oklahoma’s Science DMZ

A grant awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) will expand research computing at five more Oklahoma colleges and universities. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) and OneNet received $232,275 in funding for the Small Institution Multiple Organization Regional OneOklahoma Friction Free Network (SI-MORe-OFFN) through NSF’s Campus Cyberinfrastructure (CC*) grant program. 

Administered by NSF’s Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, the CC* grant program invests in campus-level cyberinfrastructure improvements for science applications and research projects.

The two-year grant award will connect Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT), Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC), Redlands Community College (RCC), Oklahoma Christian University (OC) and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) to Oklahoma’s Science DMZ known as the OneOklahoma Friction Free Network. 

OFFN is a 10 Gbps network ring that provides higher education institutions with a dedicated internet route that allows researchers to bypass slower traditional networks and transmit data at higher speeds. Three previous NSF grant awards to Oklahoma connected 12 research and regional universities to OFFN. This new award specifically targeted smaller institutions to expand their research and education initiatives.

“The State Regents are pleased to see more Oklahoma institutions added to the OFFN network,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “These connections will enable new and diverse research collaborations for faculty at these institutions. The grant also has a significant educational impact for college students by expanding STEM and cyberinfrastructure educational opportunities.”

The project will make advanced cyberinfrastructure tools and services available to the five participating campuses and support a wide range of scientific disciplines. For OSUIT, those initiatives include Cybersecurity for Institutional Resources and Education, Data Science and Virtualization, and Programming with Software Defined Networking. At OSU-OKC, their Resilience Academy for Nurse Science Program will benefit. Programs at RCC benefitting from this grant include STEM Tutoring, Aquaponics Greenhouse Research, Hemp Research, and the Science and Nursing Lab Network. OC’s Adaptive Cyber Defense initiative will benefit from this grant. And finally, the USAO’s Stereochemistry, Thermodynamic Favorability, and Environmental Characteristics of Urban Areas initiatives will also benefit.

OneNet makes SI-MORe-OFFN possible by providing the network that connects the colleges and universities. OneNet also provides access to Internet2, a nationwide network for education and research.

“OneNet is higher education’s partner in research and education and ensures campuses have access to the networking and technology required to support scientific discovery and innovation,” said Vonley Royal, OneNet executive director and State Regents’ CIO. “Expanding access for researchers and faculty to networks like OFFN is vital to providing resources that enhance these initiatives for Oklahoma colleges and universities.”

The State Regents and OneNet will continue to partner with higher education institutions to grow the OFFN network. Plans for another NSF grant application to connect additional regional universities to the network are underway.