List of Announcements (details below):

Federal Budget Developments: Implications for No-cost Extension

[I received the message below from Mike Laskofski of the Office of Sponsored Programs.  I’ve added italics to part of Mike’s cover message.]

Dear Research Council:

Please see below related to a recent notice from OMB to executive departments and agencies.  I am attending FDP next week and COGR in February and will report back to the group on any new developments.  We should continue to review existing awards closely to make sure activity and spending is progressing at a reasonable rate.  I anticipate no cost extensions will be scrutinized even more closely going forward so a reminder to your faculty about the need to keep projects on schedule and spend funds within the project period may be useful at this point.

Thanks, Mike

-------- Original Message --------

COGR: Federal Budget Developments
Wed, 16 Jan 2013 16:25:54 -0800
COGR <[log in to unmask]>
COGR Email List <[log in to unmask]>

On January 14 the OMB Deputy Director for Management issued a memorandum to all executive departments and agencies entitled "Planning for Uncertainty with respect to FY 2013 Budgetary Resources. .

The memorandum directs federal agencies to plan for possible major budget reductions in FY13 in case Congress fails to call off the across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, now scheduled to go into effect
on March 1, or to extend the current FY13 continuing resolution, which is keeping the government operating, beyond its March 27 expiration date. The memorandum notes that unless Congress acts, the sequestration order will require spending cuts in FY13 alone of $85 billion.

Of particular concern with respect to research is the fourth bullet point in OMB's guiding principles for the agencies, which states:  "review grants and contracts to determine where cost savings may be achieved in a manner that is consistent with the applicable terms and conditions, remaining mindful of the manner in which individual contracts or grants advance the core mission of the agency."

In addition, the Department of Defense, in a memorandum issued last week, instructed the military to begin adjusting for sequestration. With respect to DOD funding for research and development, the memo instructs agencies to clear R&D contracts above $500 million with the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. It also instructs agencies to identify the impacts of budget uncertainty on DOD's Science and Technology accounts, which typically include basic and applied research and early-stage technology development. According to analyses from the AAAS, DOD currently stands to lose more than $6.5 billion a year in R&D funding under sequestration.

With this level of uncertainty in the FY 2013 federal budget, it has been reported that the Administration's FY 2014 budget, normally released at the beginning of February, is unlikely to be ready until mid-March, if not later.

Obviously this will be a major part of the discussions at the February 21-22 COGR meeting.

Tony DeCrappeo
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Funding Opportunity:  AFOSR Announcement


The Air Force Office of Scientific Research has issued a broad-agency announcement describing their research interests.  These include the following topics that may be relevant to VSE faculty:

C4I Seminar: Feb 8, 1:30pm: Dr. Anamaria Berea

C4I Seminar Series Lecture
Friday, Feb 8, 1:30 pm
Engineering Building, room 4705

Speaker: Dr. Anamaria Berea
Title: The Network Externalities in Hawala Money Transfers

For further information contact Deb Schenaker, 993-3682, email: [log in to unmask] or visit


This project is both a methodological investigation and a data analysis of a financial mechanism that remains elusive to data mining and quantitative based sciences. It is an investigation of the informal value transfer networks – hawala - through the methods of social network analysis. Although hawala has been tied to financing terrorism activities worldwide, only a small part of the hawala exchanges are "illegitimate" in the sense understood by Western economies. Based on a data set constructed from the “bottom-up”, from mass-media reports and online open sources, this analysis shows a few significant network externalities in the hawaladars networks from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although data spans a couple of decades, the results are descriptive and show the ties of the hawaladars from Peshawar to both legitimate and illegitimate businesses in India, Dubai, Thailand and UK.

Speaker Information

Dr.  Berea has a PhD in Computational Social Science from George Mason University and a PhD in International Business and Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies in Romania. Anamaria joined the DAGGRE research project in 2011 as a graduate research assistant and an advanced doctoral student. Within this project, she has been working on specific topics using social network analysis, Bayesian network modeling, GIS and prediction markets in order to forecast world events. She is working on managing the forecasting problems on the prediction market, on decomposing and modeling specific forecasting problems, such as the Eurozone breakup, Greek Exit or the Failed States Index and on analyzing the role of autotrading algorithms for forecasting accuracy and the overall market activity.

The research and paper she had developed for modeling hawala networks won an Assyst Bursary Award from ESSA (European Social Simulation Association), as well as an official recommendation letter from the Head of Counter-Terrorism in Calcutta, India.

Ken Hintz and James Corey Wright are Issued a Patent

Ken Hintz of the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department and former student James Corey Wright were issued the following patent by the US PTO.

Title: Syntactic Signal Recognizer and Pattern Recognizer
Inventors: James Corey Wright and Ken Hintz
Number: 8,358,809 B2
Issue date: January 22, 2013


Workshop on Career Preparation for Graduate Students (Feb 8, 9am)


From the web site:

Planning for your post-graduate-degree job search? The Office of Graduate Student Life invites you to join us for back-to-back workshops focusing on two key parts of the job search process for both academic and industry/non-academic careers: preparing for the interview and negotiating your salary. Ann Mills from University Career Services and Josh Eyler from the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence will provide tips on what to expect and how to prepare for these two stages of the search. Refreshments will be provided.

Seeking Volgenau Students for Campus Impact Forum

[Judith Green in the Office of International Programs and Services would like to have students from the Volgenau School participate in the Forum described below.  Please forward nominations to her if you know of someone relevant.]

Dear Colleagues:

The Campus Impact Forum engages a diverse group of students from across George Mason University in a day of brainstorming, collaboration, and reflection.  The Office of International Programs and Services, in partnership with the Office of the Ombudsman and LEAD Office, seeks your help identifying bold thinkers to serve as Fellows for the 2013 Campus Impact Forum.

Representing GMU’s extraordinarily multicultural community, Fellows will work together under the leadership of an experienced facilitator to address the topic: “Bridging Cultural Differences to Create a More Civil Campus.” An invited speaker will introduce the topic during a morning plenary, followed by discussion of the University’s traditions, competencies, and opportunities for both increasing civility and embracing difference. During the afternoon, Fellows will break into small groups tasked with proposing innovations or enhancements that foster civility in the co-curriculum. A senior University official will join Fellows for a concluding session to hear their ideas.

Please consider nominating one or more students for this opportunity by simply replying to this message with the student’s name by February 7, 2013. Additional information about the student, such as academic program, e-mail or phone number, is helpful but not required.  Nominated students will be contacted by OIPS staff and invited to interview for one of 30 fellowship positions. All students currently enrolled in a degree program at George Mason University are eligible.

The 2012-13 Campus Impact Forum will take place on the Fairfax campus Friday, February 22, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Students will be selected on the basis of the following criteria: faculty nomination, diversity of group composition to ensure a broad representation of experience and ideas, personal interview, and student interest.   Feel free to circulate this message to other colleagues. I'd be glad to respond to any questions you may have, and thank you for giving consideration to student nominees for the Campus Impact Forum.

Heather H. Ward
Associate Director for Internationalization and Outreach
Office of International Programs and Services
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Withdrawals from Graduate Courses


My office has clarified our policies for approving course withdrawals after the add/drop deadline for graduate students.  The full policy, as well as the relevant forms, can be found at the above URL.  Below are extracts from the document.

University Policy: For graduate and non-degree students, withdrawal after the last day for dropping a course requires approval by the student’s academic dean, and is permitted only for nonacademic reasons that prevent course completion.

Requests to withdraw will not be considered after the last day of classes as posted by the Office of the Registrar.

Students who wish to withdraw after the final drop deadline must submit the following documentation to the Student Services Office:

Within two weeks of the final drop deadline

More than two weeks after the final drop deadline and more than one month before the last day of classes

Within one month of the last day of classes (students must withdraw from all classes; no partial withdrawals will be permitted)

In all cases

The Registrar's Office will only process a withdrawal request after the Office of Student Accounts verifies that there are no holds or unpaid charges on the student's account. The university does not refund tuition when a student voluntarily withdraws from a course after the drop deadline. If the withdrawal is after the drop period, a listing of the student’s semester courses appears on the student’s record along with grades of “W”.

Stephen G. Nash
Senior Associate Dean
Volgenau School of Engineering
George Mason University
Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 2500
Mailstop 5C8
Fairfax, VA 22030

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Phone: (703) 993-1505
Fax: (703) 993-1633