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Omaha school to become hub of counterterrorism research

Posted at 10:38 AM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 11:38:21-05

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The University of Nebraska at Omaha has been chosen to lead a team of universities and other partners in studying counterterrorism and terrorism prevention, federal officials said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate announced Monday that the university has won a $3.65 million-a-year grant for 10 years.

The university will spearhead a consortium of academic, industry, government and laboratory partners in trying to find ways to prevent or counteract threats to the nation’s people, infrastructure and economy, the directorate said.

That consortium constitutes what the directorate describes as a center of excellence.It will be the directorate’s 10th center of excellence, said directorate spokesman John Verrico.

The centers have a variety of research areas for the science and technology directorate, Verrico said Tuesday, and they sometimes work directly with Homeland Security operational units. About 200 colleges are involved in the centers’ research, he said.

Gina Ligon, who works for the Omaha campus’ business school, said the university bested 75 others that applied to house the center.

“We want to get things in the hands of counterterrorism professionals to help them do their jobs,” she said.

Verrico said the selection process for the establishment of each center has been very competitive. But he couldn’t immediately say what made the Omaha school stand out for its selection.

The center will be located in Mammel Hall, which is in the midst of a $17 million expansion. The total $36.5 million award is the largest single grant in the 112-year history of the university, officials said.