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Mason Science’s worldwide collaborations to solve global problems

Dean Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm

One of George Mason University’s greatest strengths is its diversity. Our collection of interconnected scientists and scholars create a globally focused ecosystem where large scale curiosity, exploration, and problem solving can take root and thrive.

When our College of Science pledges to take on global challenges, we mean it.  In the past few weeks, Mason scientists have published biodiversity research findings tied to a multi-decade partnership with Brazilian scientists to address species loss in Amazon forests. I recently welcomed a science and policy delegation from Kenya, Senegal, and South Sudan for a two-week UN Environmental Programme workshop to map and monitor the natural resource capital in Africa using remote sensing data. We trained a delegation from the World Bank on impacts of climate change and solutions to food, energy and water problems across countries in Africa. We announced the collaboration of a Mason scientist partnering with a National Science Foundation funded domestic team and CSIRO, Australia's National Science Agency to mitigate bias in AI-powered modeling and prediction of disease spread for pandemic prevention and response. 

In addition, one of our faculty members just learned the exciting news that she will participate in the prestigious Simons Emmy Noether Fellowship program at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario Canada. There she will join an international cohort to support and encourage early and mid-career women and all under-represented groups in physics. And this week, we host a workshop discussing climate resiliency planning with research and regional development practitioners from both Virginia and Stuttgart, Germany.

I too took on a global leadership role last year when, in addition to serving as Mason’s College of Science Dean, I served as a Senior Research Advisor to NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP), focused on enhancing research activities carried out by underrepresented groups in STEM across NASA’s portfolio in earth sciences, space exploration and societal benefits.

Do you ever wonder why organizations choose Mason scientists to successfully lead and foster global collaboration across a multitude of domains?

Although our collaborators may be very different from one another—in where we come from, what we offer, and how we think, we come together with the same dreams for tomorrow. Our collaborative style is empowering, encouraging, and efficient; we are focused on diverse input and results, driven by a vision to make our world better than it is today, for ourselves and for our communities.

Here and now at Mason, the future is what we are making of it—applying our many viewpoints to create new ideas, solutions, and opportunities. We are good at thinking big, and we can’t resist boldly running headlong into the greatest possibilities and challenges the world has ever faced. That tireless drive to repair the world of today, and build the world of tomorrow, unites us all.

Government and community leaders look to leading R-1 research universities like Mason for the workforce and economic development opportunities that will improve the conditions for their regions and constituencies, both for today and tomorrow. Time and again, our academic leaders make the case that our creative, inclusive, and diverse approach is exactly what the future needs.

I ask faculty across Mason and within the broader local, regional and global communities -- Have you collaborated with us yet? If you are working to solve global problems, you might consider asking yourself, “How can I best plug in to what Mason scientists have to offer?” Reach out to our more than 500 faculty and researchers across our college’s 12 departments, programs, and 15 research centers to learn more about our research portfolio and facilities. We are connectors helping teams of scientists explore global relationships across our many scientific domains.

We know the world will change, and together we will be the ones who change it. Because we are All Together Different.

Visit the dean's blog for more insights from Dean Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm.