The McCrary Institute

Charles D. McCrary Institute for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Cyber Systems


About

The McCrary Institute is the 21st century embodiment of engaged Auburn academics and their students working on the nation’s most pressing and important problems with colleagues across academia, government and industry in the pursuit of lasting benefits to society. The institute focuses on practical, interdisciplinary research and emerging innovations to provide timely solutions for the protection and security of critical infrastructure, cyber systems, relevant to energy and natural resource and conservation that are essential to our way of life.

The McCrary Institute, founded at Auburn University in 2015 through a generous donation by the Alabama Power Foundation to Auburn University in honor of its retiring CEO and Auburn alumnus Charles D. McCrary, seeks nothing less than sustained, transformative impact in the areas of critical infrastructure, cyber, systems, energy, security, and natural resource development and conservation that it undertakes. Broadly speaking, The McCrary Institute seeks novel, interdisciplinary solutions to problems and concerns at the juncture of emerging information technology, the information revolution, the connectedness of modern society, and addressing the opportunities, threats and challenges to critical infrastructure and resources that such advances pose to the modern world.

A major part of the institute’s strategic plan is to promote interdisciplinary research and innovations that address key challenges identified by leading national organizations in the institute’s focus areas. For instance, among the 14 NAE Engineering Grand Challenges for the 21st century identified by the National Academy of Engineering, the institute presently undertakes state-of-the-art research and advanced development on restoring and improving urban infrastructure, and securing cyber pace through a number of its projects and enduring efforts. Among the Department of Homeland Security’s 16 critical infrastructure sectors, whose cyber security is advanced by the National Institutes of Science and Technology, the institute addresses cyber of fourth generation manufacturing and infrastructure security, cyber and operations which impact the energy, chemical and critical manufacturing sectors. Smart grid research and development efforts of the institute impact the energy sector, secure engineering and tactical cyber systems. This affects the defense industrial base sector, as well as psycho social cyber and “next-generation” cyber systems and forensics of the Internet of Things and industrial control systems, which impacts all 16 DHS sectors, but notably information technologies, energy, commercial facilities and critical manufacturing. Additionally, the institute’s work in responsible development of natural resources impacts food and agriculture.

Interdisciplinary teams of McCrary Institute students, scientists and collaborators from academia, industry and government employ advanced data analytics, machine learning, advanced optimization and massive supercomputing in the realization of their R&D and practical results. Using the tools of scientific discovery, the institute’s personnel contribute to the NAE Engineering Grand Challenges.

To achieve its mission and vision as a full partner in the solution of strategic infrastructure, cyber systems, energy and environmental challenges, the McCrary Institute engages in long-term partnerships with other universities, industry, national laboratories, government agencies, and the private sector. Its strategic approach is to focus on meaningful problems while engaging customers and technology partners with pre-competitive solutions that can be transitioned into sustainable solutions of lasting value to society.

Our Mission

The McCrary Institute carries out state-of-the-art, transformative, peer-reviewed research, advanced development and technology transition in critical infrastructure protection, cyber systems, security, with a specific focus on the energy sector as well as advancing responsible natural resource development and conservation. The institute's mission includes an emphasis on practical, transferable knowledge and results, as well as meaningful service and outreach to its stakeholders, which include state and nation-wide residents and entities. 

Our Vision

The McCrary Institute is recognized for positive, practical, sustainable impact on its critical areas. The institute continually seeks to achieve leading results and impact in its mission areas through R&D, outreach and technology transition. It focuses on critical infrastructure protection as defined by the Department of Homeland Security.  The McCrary Institute is recognized for its sustained research, service, outreach missions and transition of relevant intellectual property and policy to practice as measured by practical application. Through these activities, the McCrary Institute advances Auburn University's core mission as a land-grant institution, as well as the state of Alabama, the region and our nation and people in areas of energy, security, cyber systems, critical infrastructure protection and responsible natural resource development and conservation.