Two new multidisciplinary centers will further research endeavors

On Friday, George Mason University provost S. David Wu and Deborah Crawford, vice president for research, innovation and economic impact, announced the creation of two new multidisciplinary centers that will bring together researchers from several schools and colleges to address real-world problems.

The two centers were selected from a pool of 12 proposals using a multi-stage review process as a part of Mason's 2019 Center for Advanced Study competition.

The Center for Advancing Human-Machine Partnership (CAHMP) seeks to explore the future of human-machine partnerships. Its motivating vision is that humans and machines must be able to communicate seamlessly while dynamically learning from each other in a personalized context, and they must do so within a collaborative framework that engenders trust and ethical conduct. The center will focus its work on three primary aspects: Intuitive communication, adaptive interactivity, and ethical partnership. Led by Mason researchers Amarda Shehu, Brenda Bannan, and David Lattanzi, the center has core members from six colleges including the College of Education and Human Development, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Science, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Schar School of Policy and Government, and the Volgenau School of Engineering.

The Center for Resilient and Sustainable Communities (CRASC) will focus on community partnerships to enable capacity building to absorb disruptions and emerge stronger. This center’s work will focus on bottom-up community-led approaches; address resilience in comprehensive and measurable ways; find ways to integrate the impacts and policy implications of converging, accelerating technological changes; and include practitioners with field experience. Led by Mason researchers Kathryn Laskey, Sara Cobb, Constence Gewa, Elise Miller-Hooks, Paul Houser, Richard Klimoski, Tonya Neaves, and Linton Wells II, the center will draws its core members from six colleges including the College of Health and Human Services, College of Science, the Schar School of Policy and Government, the School of Business, the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and the Volgenau School of Engineering. 

Each center will receive support for five years, which will be renewable for an additional five years, contingent upon satisfactory annual performance reviews. In addition to the provost’s commitment of $125,000/year per center, all of the involved colleges have generously contributed additional funding and in-kind contributions in excess of $125,000/year per center.

“These centers promise to distinguish Mason discovery, both nationally and internationally, and inform and enrich Mason education and translation programs for the foreseeable future,” said Wu.