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:
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.
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