A researcher at the Indiana University Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has been awarded a grant from the Department of Defense for his lofty thinking and research on the evolution of scientific fields, theories and discoveries.

“It will be an instrument to shape and make more visible this new field of research, the science of science,” said IU professor Santo Fortunato, who received the grant.

IU says Fortunato and his colleagues are interested in describing and predicting the evolution of scientific fields and how it impacts scholarly work.

“There are multiple potential applications, specifically in policy making, both for institutions and funding agencies,” Fortunato said. “For instance, one can come up with a better system to evaluate research and therefore allocate funds, especially among young researchers, who need support to build up their careers.”

Fortunato’s work is funded through the Minerva Research Initiative which aims to improve the DoD’s understanding of the “social, cultural, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S.”

“Santo’s research is a critical step in advancing the science of science, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with his partnership with the Department of Defense,” said Raj Acharya, dean of SICE. “The Minerva Research Initiative is an important effort, and we’re very pleased Santo’s work will push research forward.”

Fortunato hopes his team’s work may fundamentally change the way the Department of Defense identifies and funds the breakthroughs of tomorrow.