Dean’s blog: A promising research future for new frontiers
Looking back at the first blog I ever wrote as Mason Science dean, I had just finished multiple tours of our colleges, research facilities and met the many faculty and staff responsible for our science research enterprise. We were in pandemic mode, having just made the difficult decision to augment or suspend some of our efforts due to limited campus access. On the other hand, our biomedical research teams were gearing up for stretches of 15-18+ hours plus days in the lab analyzing COVID -19 samples and creating the processes that would help our Mason community build our resiliency and preserve our health throughout the pandemic.
We have come a long way. Our Mason Science research impact continues to expand, with research expenditures growing an accumulated 13% between July 2020 and July 2023. We've built on our focused biomedical research in proteomics and molecular medicine, genetics and fighting infectious diseases. Our faculty are also leading collaborations and advising governments and organizations across diverse domains of space, data, energy, climate, agriculture, and quantum materials among many diverse disciplines. And our productivity is high; our Mason Science researchers have the most patents and largest commercialization in Mason’s history.
We continue to provide unique and impactful research and educational experiences at the R1 university level for our students, bringing forward a diverse STEM workforce equipped with scientific knowledge and collaboration skills necessary to address the current challenges of today while also providing solutions for the difficult situations we anticipate our society will face in the future.
And we’ve expanded awareness and access to science programs with our Quantum, Mathematics, and Valhen Hispanic STEM Academies, and our STEM Accelerator program and outreach continues, including our wildly popular FOCUS and ASSIP experiences to inspire the next generation of scientists.
I'd taken that opportunity in the summer of 2020 to meet with faculty and students from many of our research facilities on the Fairfax, Science and Technology, and Potomac Science Center campuses. After learning of our expertise and stellar efforts, I expanded the recognition opportunities for their good work. (Nominations for these prestigious Dean's Awards are open now. Please nominate your deserving colleagues by November 1) and I remain impressed and amazed by our capabilities, discoveries, and impact potential.
The newness of my role hasn't worn off; I am just as excited now as I was then. If not more so, because I'm seeing how our efforts continue to make a difference. Research remains a primary focus of our college and I am quite confident our scientists and their collaborations will take us to new levels of success.