Professor Diana Mutz is this year's recipient of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award, which recognizes accomplishments in public opinion and survey research that have occurred, or had their primary impact, in the last decade. Arthur Lupia and Diana Mutz received the award for their role as innovators in developing and implementing a new cross-disciplinary infrastructure project known as TESS: Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences.
TESS received NSF funding from the Foundation’s program for “Enhancing Infrastructure for the Social and Behavioral Sciences.” TESS’s primary mandate is the promotion of innovative methodological approaches though general population experiments in order “to increase the precision with which fundamental social, political and economic dynamics are measured and understood.” TESS uses economies of scale and cooperative research platforms to provide many new opportunities for original data collection to faculty and graduate students in the social sciences and related fields. Over five years, TESS has helped investigators conduct almost 150 different research projects. To receive a TESS grant, academicians compete in a review process in which proposals are evaluated on many levels, including the potential importance of their contribution to society. Experiments span diverse subjects and have included areas such as obesity, mental illness, teenage pregnancy, and politics. Recently TESS has announced a new call for proposals (deadline July 2007) that addresses several substantive areas related to the Department of Homeland Security.