University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Security in Politics and FBI Sign Historic Research Agreement on AI, Fintech, and Internet Governance Led by Former Secretary Janet Napolitano

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Huntsville, Alabama – The Center for Security in Politics (CSP) at the University of California, Berkeley, and the FBI officially signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) at the FBI’s campus at Redstone Arsenal. This agreement is among the first in which the FBI is leveraging the CRADA mechanism with a university. 

CRADAs allow for the sharing of resources and expertise between organizations for collaborative research to advance a federal agency’s mission. This partnership will focus on research related to AI, fintech, lawful access, and internet governance, with CSP working across campus to connect the FBI with research scholars to tackle these issues under various scopes of work. Additionally, the partnership will welcome yearly FBI fellows to campus as well as create a talent pipeline of UC Berkeley students interested in a career with the FBI and national security work related to these topics.

Former Secretary Janet Napolitano, CSP director and Goldman School faculty member, was present at the signing, along with Executive Assistant Director Robert Brown from the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch (STB). The partnership speaks to CSP’s focus on democratic resilience, the security implications of developing and emerging technologies, and the need for the government to partner with academia and the private sector to tackle the most pressing national security challenges.

“Signing and executing this CRADA between the FBI and UC Berkeley is a historic milestone for both institutions,” said Napolitano. “It marks the first collaboration of its kind and presents a unique opportunity for faculty and students at UC Berkeley to work with dedicated public servants at the FBI and for the FBI to work with world-class research scholars across campus. This partnership is exactly the type of work I was excited to take on in my role at UC Berkeley and the reason I established the Center for Security in Politics at the Goldman School of Public Policy.”

EAD Brown, who leads the FBI’s Branch responsible for developing and deploying advanced technology to enable and enhance the FBI’s mission, commented that “The cooperative research agreement (CRADA) between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and UC Berkeley represents an opportunity to promote transparency and effective governance of new technology. By collaborating in this manner, both institutions can contribute to enhancing our understanding of emerging technologies, their potential implications, and their responsible implementation.”  

The partnership will also create opportunities for engagement that benefit the student body at UC Berkeley and bring a new network of opportunities to campus that allows for interdisciplinary research and collaboration. The FBI’s new Next Generation Technology and Lawful Access Section (NGTLAS), designed to centralize some of the Bureau’s innovation efforts around advanced telecommunications, technology standards development, patents and licensing, and emerging technology policy, will serve as a gateway between the Berkeley and FBI campuses and organizations. “This partnership will connect cutting-edge researchers, practitioners, and policy experts with our public safety professionals to ensure our collective community and national readiness in the digital age,” added Next Generation Technology and Lawful Access Section Chief Katie Noyes.

“The Goldman School is committed to making government work better. We have the expertise and the network to transform government practices with modern approaches to building trust. That is why we are thrilled to partner with the FBI on this historic agreement,” said Dean David C. Wilson. “It’s a testament to the importance of collaboration between government and academia in addressing some of the most pressing security challenges of our time. It takes a degree of courage for both parties to come together in this innovative partnership. We will use our values—rigor, evidence, truth, diversity, and justice—to guide our effort to protect America’s multiracial democracy while also keeping our communities and our country safe.”