NOTE: the title of the training courses generated out of the CRAVRE project was renamed in late 2023 to "Cyber Security Awareness and Strategies to Enhance Resilience of Recovery and Response Operations During Disasters". The new course title is used throughout the website and downloadable materials.  


June 16, 2021 Press Release

Purdue Polytechnic Researchers Win Top Award at Annual FEMA Symposium

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.: A team of researchers from Purdue University’s Polytechnic Institute and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) received the People’s Choice Award yesterday for their

Cyber Resilience Adaptive Virtual Reality Experiences (CRAVRE) poster presentation in the 23rd Annual Emergency Management Higher Education Virtual Symposium held on June 8-10, 2021.

CRAVRE PosterThe CRAVRE team includes Principal Investigator and Director of the project Dr. Mesut Akdere, interim associate dean for research at Purdue Polytechnic and professor of human resource development. Also on the team are cybersecurity and artificial intelligence experts Dr. Umit Karabiyik and Dr. Jin Koscis, both faculty members in the Department of Computer and Information Technology at Purdue. Dr. Jason Moats, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s Testing and Innovation Center Director, is the emergency response expert on the project. Purdue graduate students Julie Abdinoor, Milos Stankovic, and Praveen Fernando are also on the team.

The criteria for the award this year was based on the topic addressing a current emergency management problem, the synergy between the academic and practitioner communities, the team presentation, and the organization of the poster.

FEMA’s Higher Education Program, founded in 1994, engages academia, emergency management professional organizations, and practitioners to collaborate and innovate through education and research to meet national challenges. The program’s academic community includes more than 692 college and university-based programs in emergency management, homeland security, and related fields. More information on the Higher Education Program and Annual Symposium can be found at

Cyber Resilience Adaptive Virtual Reality Experiences (CRAVRE) will be the world’s first virtual reality-based training program designed to help public safety officials prepare for the growing threat of cyberattacks.  CRAVRE utilizes virtual reality for a highly engaging user experience and incorporates artificial intelligence brings a level of customization not yet offered by traditional training programs. The joint three-year initiative began in November 2020 after receiving a $1.5M Homeland Security National Training Program (HSNTP)/Continuing Training Grant (CTG) from the U.S. Department of Homeland CRAVRE Peoples Choice AwardSecurity. CRAVRE is in development with plans to launch in the first quarter of 2022. For more information, visit the project website (

About Purdue

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

About TEEX

The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) is an internationally recognized leader in the delivery of emergency response, homeland security, and workforce training, exercises, technical assistance, and economic development. A member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX served more than 178,000 people from across the United States and 133 countries last year through hands-on training and technical services.




March 15, 2021 Press Release

Team creating virtual reality-based training program to thwart cybersecurity attacks

Researchers from Purdue and Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) are creating an artificial intelligence-powered, virtual reality-based cybersecurity training program for public safety officials. The joint three-year project received a $1.5 million Homeland Security National Training Program/Continuing Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in November 2020.  

Cyber Resilience Adaptive Virtual Reality Experiences (CRAVRE) is designed to help public safety officials prepare for the growing threat of cyberattacks, especially those relating to disasters. The principal investigator of CRAVRE is Mesut Akdere, professor of human resource development in the Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation and director of the Purdue HRD Virtual Lab.

“We’ve seen great results with VR-based training,” Akdere says. “Interactive and immersive training scenarios in VR are much more true to life, which enhances learning and memory.”

Internet of Things technologies have increased vulnerabilities of cyberattacks during disasters, and the training helps officials respond faster and recover more quickly when it happens. Akdere says incorporating artificial intelligence also brings a level of customization for each learner not yet offered by traditional training programs.

The project plans to begin offering the training in early 2022.

Akdere is also part of the Center for the Environment’s Building Sustainable Community research area. CRAVRE aligns with the center’s interest in building sustainable and resilient communities.





Purdue University Discover Park Center for the Environment

News Brief:

The World’s First AI-Powered, Virtual Reality-Based Cybersecurity Training for First Responders is Being Developed

March 24, 2021

Purdue Center for the Environment Newsletter CRAVRE News Brief






















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