Frequently Asked Questions

What is CITES?

The Center for Infrastructure Trustworthiness for Energy Systems (CITES) is an NSF I/UCRC    (see https://iucrc.nsf.gov) with research hubs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Arkansas, and Florida International University. 

What is the purpose of CITES?

CITES provides a collaboration space for Industry, Academia and Government in partnership to develop innovative ideas and technologies that increase the reliability, security, and resiliency of energy system operations, particularly through cyber means.  CITES was formed with the recognition that our nation’s critical energy system infrastructure is under threat from sophisticated malicious actors who are continuously attempting to gain a cyber-foothold in those systems, which would enable them to interrupt operations and/or damage the infrastructure.

Who should join CITES?

Examples include critical infrastructure asset owners, software and device vendors, consultants, industry representing organizations, research centers, service providers, research organizations, national labs, and other power, oil, and gas sector stakeholders.

What is the governance structure for CITES?

Following the NSF I/UCRC model, CITES has an Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) that makes all major decisions impacting CITES, and university support for the management and implementation of those decisions.


How do new members join?

To join CITES as a voting member, a prospective organization meets the IAB, signs a membership agreement, selects its IAB representative and contributes the annual membership fee ($50,000 for full membership, $25,000 for ½ membership). NSF requires that at least 90% of those contributed funds be used toward research activities, as the administrative costs of the Center are primarily funded by NSF. Affiliate (non-voting and rights-free) association is also possible, based in-kind sharing. Information about membership structure is available upon request.

How are the Center's research activities determined?

A call for research proposals from CITES universities results in a pool of potential research projects.  The IAB meets to assess and select the proposals to be funded from the available pool. On these (and all other decision-making matters) full members have 1 vote, and associate members have ½ vote.

How much of a time commitment is required of members?

Each voting organization is represented by one IAB member. IAB members meet semi-annually at a scheduled Industry Advisory Board meeting, expected to take the better part of one day (sometimes split across two days).  In addition, there will be a few planning calls, and need to review and analyze of research proposals each year prior to and during the research selection meeting.


What is the term of commitment?

Initial members have signed an agreement for the full five year period.  New members would sign up for the remaining period of time.  Each member reserves the right to opt out by providing written notice before the end of any single research funding cycle (which takes place annually).

What are some ways members benefit from participating?

Participation in CITES provides access to a collaborative group of problem solvers with common interests.  It helps create relationships between industrial stakeholders, as well as academic researchers. CITES members directly guide research efforts in directions they see as being critical. Additionally, members gain access to emerging talent who are already engaged in topical research that might further the mission of participating organizations. 

Are there any intellectual property rights or benefits?

Voting members have nonexclusive royalty free access to all CITES research outcomes that were created during the period of their membership.

I need more information, who do I contact? 

Dominic Saebeler, CITES Industry Liaison: dsaeb2@illinois.edu 

Prof. David M Nicol; CITES Director &
University of Illinois Site Lead

Prof. Qinghua Li;
University of Arkansas Site Lead

Prof. Osama Mohammed;
Florida International University Site Lead

For information about becoming a member, please visit the Industry Engagement page.