2017 Multidisciplinary Research Initiative in Modeling, Simulation and Analytics


George Mason faculty and staff have a long history of driving innovation and entrepreneurship. Given our strategic goals, it is critical that there be a clear, transparent process in place where Mason faculty and staff can pilot their creative ideas and further Mason’s strategic goals. Faculty members, researchers, and interdisciplinary innovators are encouraged to submit proposals that respond to the pressing issues and research challenges – regionally, nationally, and globally – that face us today.


Mason’s 2017 Multidisciplinary Research (MDR) Initiative in Modeling, Simulation and Analyticsseeks to stimulate multidisciplinary research projects in which state-of-the-art computational and data-intensive methods, tools and techniques are used to advance the knowledge frontier in one or more domains.

The Process

The 2017 MDR proposals are due on August 1, 2017.

Step 1 Included Submission of a letter of interest. Faculty and postdoctoral fellows interested in participating in the 2017 MDR Initiative on Modeling, Simulation and Data Analytics submitted a Letter of Interest (LOI) by March 10, 2017.  The LOI included the following information: 1. the individual’s name, title, and academic unit; and 2. identify the individual’s research interest in the initiative as either a. an expert in modeling, simulation and/or analytics techniques, tools, or methods that can be applied to one or more new domain problems; or b. an expert in a field or domain that might be advanced through the use of state-of-the-art modeling, simulation and/or analytics techniques, tools or methods.

Step 2 was an idea testing session in which researchers from across the university pitched their needs and computational and analytics experts pitched their methods/expertise and discovered interesting new combinations of expertise.

Step 3 is a request for proposals which invites multidisciplinary teams of investigators representing multiple academic departments to define promising new projects that use modeling, simulation or analytics methods and tools to advance both the methods or tools, and another field. Proposing teams may be comprised of Mason faculty, staff, students, and/or external partners; at least one individual in each proposing team must have submitted a Letter of Interest in response to the earlier call.

In lieu of more formal written proposals and an anonymous review process, teams choosing to compete for 2017 MDR funding will “pitch” their projects to one or more review panels in open session (i.e. interested faculty may choose to audit any pitch session(s)). Each proposing team should plan to make a 10-minute presentation using a deck of no more than 10 slides, with 10 minutes allotted for Q&A; only the review panel members may ask questions.  The slides used during the pitches must include the following details:

  • Project Team
  • Project Goals
  • Project Description describing the methods and techniques to be used to advance the state of the art
  • Project Outcomes anticipated, including potential follow-on work
  • Proposed Budget and Budget Description

Proposals may describe project budgets of up to $40,000.

Allowable Budget Items:

  • Graduate and undergraduate assistantships (salaries and fringe benefits)
  • Partial support for research scientists across units, who will facilitate collaboration
  • Operating budget
  • Staff support
  • Travel required to secure external support
  • Materials needed for pilot work
  • Outreach costs

Funding may not be requested for faculty salary support. Students who will receive support must be named and included in the proposal and should not be first-year students. Lead investigators should not be named as PIs (or co-PIs) in more than two proposals.

To Apply

The ten-slide proposals that proposing teams will use at the pitch sessions must be submitted to resdev@gmu.edu with the subject line MDR 2017 by 5 p.m. on August 1, 2017. Submissions with more than 10 slides will be returned without review. 
Pitch session(s) will be scheduled during the week of August 14. Skype sessions will be supported to accommodate proposing team members.

Pitches, and the presentation materials provided by the proposing teams, will be reviewed against the following criteria:  overall quality of the project proposed and its likelihood to advance the state-of-the-art; promise of proposing team; clarity, feasibility and promise of proposed project goals and outcomes; and likelihood that the project will lead to further future work.

The University plans to invest at least $150,000 total in the seed projects selected for award.

Funding decisions will be announced around September 1 with project start dates shortly thereafter.

Post-Award Review

  • Semi-annual internal evaluation to verify attainment of milestones
  • Review at the end of Year 1 to assess viability and successful use of provided support

Please direct questions to Aurali Dade at adade3@gmu.edu.