President's Blog

A multidisciplinary symposium to advance security research

By Provost S. David Wu.

Mason will host the second annual Provost’s Multidisciplinary Research Symposium from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday in the Mason Global Center. The event will focus on all aspects of security. In this guest post, Provost S. David Wu tells us why bringing together faculty across Mason departments, and introducing them to leading security experts, is vital to Mason producing game-changing research in this increasingly critical field.

Research of consequence is rarely limited to one discipline. Most often, it requires experts from various fields to address a pressing issue.

These collaborations benefit society, drive positive change, and boost the economy by stimulating innovation. The challenge is in creating opportunities across disciplines―and funding agencies―to intersect in a meaningful way.

Security is a broad subject that opens opportunities for research into any number of areas including, but not limited to, infrastructure; homeland defense; cybersecurity; and environmental, health, and human security. Friday’s symposium will focus on all aspects of regional, national, and global security.

Colleagues from across Mason, as well as students and alumni, will gather with industry experts to discuss potential security research and projects. Deans from the Volgenau School of Engineering, the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs are co-chairing this year’s symposium.

We are pleased to have General Michael V. Hayden, a member of our faculty, provide the keynote address. As many of you know, General Hayden is the former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. He heads an impressive list of government and industry experts who will help shape the discussion.

Representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Naval Research, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Agency for International Development, United States Institute of Peace, World Bank, Alliance for Peacebuilding, and National Defense University are also participating.

In addition, I will have the pleasure of introducing our afternoon speaker, Dr. Deborah Crawford, who was recently appointed Mason’s vice president for research.

Last year’s Multidisciplinary Research Symposium on health connected faculty members with one other and with outside agencies, fostering collaboration across units and spurring a number of research endeavors through a seed grant process in such areas as spinal cord injuries, tracking devices for emergency response training, osteoarthritis treatment, and technology to combat drug relapse. In all, the Provost’s Office funded 14 interdisciplinary projects in 2015 through this process.

Again, I encourage interdisciplinary innovators to submit multidisciplinary proposals to this seed grant competition. The proposals are not limited to the topics of health or security and all proposals will be vetted through a competitive peer review process. A number of the proposals will be awarded seed grants to pursue their research.

Please join us!