This web site was copied prior to January 20, 2005. It is now a Federal record managed by the National Archives and Records Administration. External links, forms, and search boxes may not function within this collection. Learn more.   [hide]
skip to contentMPS HomeMPS DivisionsMPS SciencesMPS StaffSite MapOrganizational ChartFastlane
NSF Logo Mathematical & Physical Sciences

Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (OMA)

The OMA, currently headed by Dr. Henry Blount, III, is an Office in the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences with the National Science Foundation.

In 1995, the Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (OMA) was established in the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences and charged with facilitating and supporting opportunities that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. OMA works in partnership with the five MPS Divisions-Astronomical Sciences, Chemistry, Materials Research, Mathematical Sciences, and Physics-to respond more effectively to the excellence and creativity of the MPS communities, particularly to proposals that, because of their subject, scope, or multi-investigator or multidisciplinary nature, did not readily fit the existing MPS program structure.

OMA provides a focal point in the Directorate for partnerships (e.g., with other agencies, industry, national laboratories, State and local governments, international organizations), seeds crosscutting research in areas of particular promise, and supports innovative experiments in education that could lead to new paradigms in graduate and undergraduate education in the mathematical and physical sciences, particularly in multidisciplinary settings.

OMA is open to creative ideas from all segments of the MPS community, ranging from individual investigators to centers. It especially encourages initiatives by multi-investigator, multidisciplinary teams pursuing problems on a scale that exceeds the capacity of individual investigators. OMA is particularly receptive to projects incorporating education and research training experiences that contribute to a diverse, high-quality workforce with technical and professional skills, career path flexibility, and appetite for lifelong learning appropriate to the dynamic, global science, and technology enterprise of the 21st century.

In addition to encouraging creative proposals from the community, OMA works with MPS Divisions to identify areas of research and education that are seen as particularly timely and promising. Three areas of emphasis for fiscal year 2001 2002 are the development of next-generation instrumentation to enable fundamental advances within disciplines and across disciplinary boundaries; innovations in education, particularly at the graduate and undergraduate levels, that broaden the backgrounds and strengthen the technical, professional, and personal skills of graduates; and research at the interface between MPS disciplines and the biological sciences where there are extraordinary opportunities for mathematical and physical scientists to use their expertise in addressing significant research and instrumentation challenges in the bio- and biomedical-related sciences.

In partnership with the MPS Divisions, OMA coordinates three MPS-wide activities that integrate research and education:

  • Research Experiences for Teachers (RET). The RET activity utilizes the extensive network of Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites as a platform for providing in-service and pre-service K-12 teachers with discovery-based learning experiences in the MPS disciplines that they can incorporate in their classroom activities.
  • MPS Distinguished International Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (MPS-DRF). These fellowships enable postdoctoral investigators in the MPS disciplines to carry out research at the world's leading facilities and laboratories. A primary objective of the MPS-DRF activity is to provide talented recent doctoral recipients in the mathematical and physical sciences an effective means of establishing international collaborations in the early stages of their careers, thereby facilitating and enhancing connections between the U.S. science and engineering community and its international counterparts. [NSF 01-154 ]
  • MPS Internships in Public Science Education (MPS-IPSE). These internships are intended to bring together the expertise of the science research community traditionally supported by the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) and that of the public science education community in partnership to communicate the most recent scientific advances to the public. The IPSE activity provides support for undergraduate and graduate students and for K-12 teachers to work in conjunction with MPS research scientists, and with professional at science centers and museums, on projects in public science education. [NSF 01-39 ]

For More Information

Write to the Head, Office of Multidisciplinary Activities, Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room 1005, Arlington, VA 22230; or contact the office by telephone, 703-292-8803.

About MPS
What is MPS?
What's New/Announcements
Directorate Activities
Initiatives/Funding Opportunities
For Kids Only

Search MPS:
| About NSF | Funding | Publications | News & Media | Search | Site Map | Help
NSF Celebrating 50 Years The National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: 703-292-5111, FIRS: 800-877-8339 | TDD: 703-292-5090
Contact NSF
Contact MPS