This project develops a partnership among four successful and mature Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research (CAE-R) and the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies in order to design, develop and test the research network. The project is a self-organizing, cooperative, multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, and multi-level collaborative research that can include both unclassified and classified research problems in cybersecurity. The project provides an opportunity for students to work on problems proposed and mentored by practitioners in the real world rather than just faculty led research. More pressing and urgent problems are addressed and the students also benefit from the guidance of multiple and interdisciplinary research faculty from multiple institutions. The student lead research may provide solutions for pressing national problems. This pilot is designed to break down the competitive barriers and lack of community that currently exists within CAE-R institutions. By jointly addressing a shared problem space, the participating institutions establish a stronger and more trusting relationship. Mississippi State brings a high concentration of minority students but also provides the lessons learned from the NSF-funded project aiming to increase the number of female participants in cybersecurity.