Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Department of Defense Multidisciplinary Research Program of the University Research Initiative – Media Analytics for Developing and Testing Theories of Social Structure and Interaction
The purpose of this initiative is to advance the state of social sciences and their formalization to develop causal theories and methods to recognize/ predict social contexts, relationships, networks, and intentions from social media, taking into account non-verbal communication such as gestures, micro-expressions, posture, and latent semantics of text and speech.
Research Concentration Areas: Research is needed to integrate empirical generalizations on latent features of communication – how language is used differently by individuals of different social statuses in groups – into one or more coherent theories (Communication). For instance, leaders use spoken and written language differently than followers (Sociology, Anthropology); women and men differ markedly in how they communicate; individuals from lower socioeconomic groups are frequently the innovators when it comes to developing new ways to use language vis-à-vis individuals from the upper-class. Yet, these commonly observable patterns have yet to be rigorously verified and integrated into coherent theories of language, social structure, and social interaction (Network Science). Also, research is needed to further develop algorithms (Computer Science) that can accurately detect key features of speech linked to these structural patterns (e.g., humor, metaphor, emotion, language innovations) and subtle non-verbal elements of communication (e.g., pitch, posture, gesture) from text, audio, and visual media (Machine Learning, Multi-media algorithms). Thus, this research necessarily requires an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural approach to link features of language use and structure in text and non-verbal communication styles to social structure and action (e.g., communicators’ changes of positions in status hierarchies, roles in power dynamics, shift in group alliances).
Upper $6,250,000USD Lower $1,000,000USD
It is anticipated that awards under this topic will be no more than an average of $1.25M per year for 5 years, supporting no more than 6 funded faculty researchers (and their teams). Exceptions warranted by specific proposal approaches should be discussed with the topic chief during the white paper phase of the solicitation.
Eligible Applicants: Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
Private institutions of higher education
This topic has been designated for potential US/UK collaborative proposals
This MURI competition is open only to and full proposals are to be submitted only by U.S. institutions of higher education (universities) including DoD institutions of higher education, with degree-granting programs in science and/or engineering. To the extent that it is a part of a U.S. institution of higher education and is not designated as a Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC), a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) or other University Affiliated Laboratory (UAL) is eligible to submit a proposal to this MURI competition and receive MURI funds. However, the eligibility of a UAL (other than an FFRDC) to submit a URI proposal does not exempt the proposal from any evaluation factor contained in this FOA. Ineligible organizations (e.g., industry, DoD laboratories, FFRDCs, and foreign universities) may collaborate on the research but may not receive MURI funds directly or via subaward.
September 8, 2015: White paper
December 7, 2015: Full proposal