Dr. Zoleikha Biron Awarded Collaborative Seed Award Grant for Microgrid Security Research

Dr. Zoleikha Biron has been awarded a Collaborative Seed Award from the Florida Center for Cybersecurity (Cyber Florida) to fund her research “Decentralized Detection of Cyber Attacks against Microgrid Energy Management Systems.” The project aims to develop the scientific foundations and the design methodologies for autonomous detection of cyber-attacks against energy management systems in microgrids.

Cyber Florida encourages collaboration across the State University System (SUS) to promote research innovation and productivity in cybersecurity. The competitive Collaborative Seed Award Program provides funding for research teams with investigators from two or more different SUS institutions for projects that pertain to cybersecurity, information assurance, cyber intelligence, or digital forensics.

“This project emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity on microgrid systems with renewables and will develop new strategies using machine learning and control theory to identify abnormal behaviors in different units of microgrid systems,” Dr. Biron said.

Dr. Biron is an assistant professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and faculty member at the Warren B. Nelms Institute. She is the Primary Investigator of the project. The co-investigator is Hisham Mahmood of Florida Polytechnic University.

“My research interests have evolved on cybersecurity, resiliency, and energy management of cyber-physical systems during my career. Particularly, I focus on distributed CPSs such as power grids, intelligent transportation systems, and integration of renewables to power systems,” Dr. Biron said.

In the long-term, Dr. Biron hopes to expand the collaboration to other universities and improve designed strategies to be scalable for different classes of cyber-physical systems. The results of the project will be submitted to peer-reviewed conferences, e.g., IEEE American Control Conference (ACC) and journals. Furthermore, the outcomes and findings of the research will be used as preliminary results for future federal grant proposals.

“The outcomes of this project will ease the steps for my research team’s path toward developing novel strategies for cybersecurity and resiliency of distributed systems,” Dr. Biron said.