Alan Paller, Center for Internet Security (CIS) co-founder, former CIS Board member, and founder of the SANS Institute and SANS Technology Institute—the nation's first regionally accredited specialized cybersecurity college and graduate school—was well-known within the cybersecurity industry for building the cyber talent pipeline. He is also credited with driving change in the public and private sectors to adopt security controls that would result in near-term and quantifiable improvements in cybersecurity resiliency.

Paller’s influence on the cybersecurity industry is vast and multi-threaded. His ideas and work were audacious—yet pragmatic, high-tech—yet propelled by human touch, and business-driven—yet visionary and inspiring.

In recognition of Paller’s legacy, and in particular, his role as a CIS co-founder and Board member, we honor his memory through the Alan Paller Laureate Program. The Alan Paller Laureate Program will award up to $250,000 annually to eligible organizations, academic institutions, or individuals whose pilot projects, proofs of concept, or existing programs are aligned with the outlined program objectives and requirements and will be selected through an annual competitive application process. Administration or overhead costs will not be permitted as part of the funding.

Annual Program Timeline

  • Grant Solicitation Announcement: January
  • Application Period: February - March
  • Award Announcement(s): Mid-May


  • U.S.-based individuals, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations with 501(c) status are eligible to apply.
  • Organizations with active 501(c) status that serve beneficiaries outside of the U.S. are eligible to apply.

Preferred Project Areas

CIS seeks to fund a diverse set of projects that are focused on improving cybersecurity by:

  • Making cybersecurity controls demonstrably more effective, simpler, and more automated
  • Developing and equipping highly skilled cyber experts
  • Improving the teaching of cyber defense at every level

Selection Criteria

The Alan Paller Laureate Program Board of Directors will evaluate proposals based on factors that include:

  • Innovative and unique nature of the project
  • Near-term impact on one or more preferred project areas
  • Clearly defined measurable outcomes
  • Viability of proposed sustainability plan
  • Comprehensiveness of the applicant’s proposal and the information requested
  • Submission of the proposal in the correct requested format and within program deadlines




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