Contractor’s AAAS Talk featured at Northwestern Now

Despite ending last week, the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2021 Annual Meeting, the scientific discussions during the meeting have a more lasting impact. Check out a recap of Professor Contractor’s talk on team problem-solving in space that’s featured in Northwestern Now. Click here to read more.

ISSMP Flight Analogs HERA Campaign 5/Mission 2 Crew Portraits. Photo Date: May 24, 2019. Location: Building 220 – HERA. Photographer: Robert Markowitz
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Successful Session at the 2021 AAAS Annual Meeting

Last Thursday (02/11), Professors Noshir Contractor, Dorothy Carter, and Alexandra Whitmire presented at the 2021 AAAS Annual Meeting Scientific Session during the Understanding and Enabling Human Travel to the Moon and Mars panel organized and moderated by Professor Leslie DeChurch. Apart from the presentation, there was a Q&A during the session, with experts from the field, including Suzanne Bell from DePaul University, Jack Stuster from Ancapa Sciences, and Nick Kansas from the University of California, San Francisco.

If you miss the presentation, feel free to check the recording of the session in our videos gallery or by clicking here.

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Noshir Contractor delivered a talk at the SPSP 2021 Preconference

The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) is back this year with its annual convention. This year, all of the pre-conference hosted are virtual (a list of all pre-conference can be found here) and our lab director Noshir Contractor was invited to be one of the speakers in the Bringing Intragroup Processes Back to Social Psychologypreconference. This pre-conference includes numerous speakers from various disciplines (i.e. social psychology, management, computer sciences) who studies social interactions within a group (in particular intragroup processes). As the last speaker of the day, Professor Contractor shared his insights on repairing interactions and/or relationships, with a talk titled Teaming in the Time of COVID-19: What Astronaut crews can teach us about “re-pairing” our relationships.


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Contractor at the AAAS 2021 Press Briefing

Today Noshir Contractor, Dorothy Carter and Sandra Whitmire attended the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2021 Annual Meeting press briefing and discussed topics surrounding science of teams in long distance space exploration. This briefing was conducted prior to their Scientific Session tomorrow on Understanding and Enabling Human Travel to the Moon and Mars, which will be live at 1PM EST.

Session Information:

NASA is preparing to send the first woman and the next man to land on the Moon and then on to Mars. These efforts are leveraging advances in science and engineering to design the complex technology that will take humans on these missions. Yet the one element that scientists cannot design are the humans these rockets will carry. Over the past 6 decades, researchers have made remarkable progress in understanding how humans respond physiologically to, and can mitigate, the extreme conditions in space such as radiation and weightlessness. However, it is only in the past decade that we have begun to understand how humans respond psychosocially to, and can mitigate, the effects of isolated, confined, and extreme environments for long durations. Further, unlike previous space missions, deep space exploration teams will face the ultimate communication barrier: light speed. Delays of up to 22 minutes for a signal to travel from Mars to Earth means messaging “Houston we have a problem” during an emergency is not an option. Hence teams exploring deep space will need to act with an unprecedented level of autonomy while coordinating with “teams of teams” back on earth. This session brings together an interdisciplinary panel of experts all deeply engaged in conducting the science that is helping NASA understand, anticipate and mitigate the effects of deep space exploration on teamwork and its performance on upcoming missions.

Speakers: Tom Williams, Noshir Contractor, and Dorothy Carter

Moderator: Leslie DeChurch

RespondentSuzanne Bell, Jack Stuster, and Nick Kanas

Other Resources:

For more info on the press briefing, click here.

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2021 NASA HRP IWS Recap

Last Thursday (Feb 4, 2021) marks the end of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop Annual Conference. We had a great time sharing some insights from our NASA projects and taking part in the Q&A Sessions. Great work Noshir Contractor, Leslie Cardone DeChurch, Alina Lungeanu and team — and thank you for all of your hard work!

If you miss any of our presentations, please head over to our Videos section to watch the recorded presentations.

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Noshir Contractor addressed Today’s Wednesday@NICO Speaker Tina Eliassi-Rad

Like in previous quarters, NICO is hosting weekly webinars focusing on the topics of complex systems and data science. Today, Professor Contractor had the privilege to host Wednesday@NICO, with special guest Professor Tina Eliassi-Rad from the Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University. Professor Eliassi-Rad’s talk today covers topics on Geometric and Topological Graph Analysis for Machine Learning.

Click here for more info on NICO Speaker Series and a list of upcoming NICO Events.

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Second NSF Grant Awarded for our ESM Project!

We are excited to announce we’ve been awarded a 600k National Science Foundation Grant to study the next normal for teaming, particularly the transition out of COVID-19.

Congratulations to PIs Noshir Contractor, Co-I Leslie DeChurch, and collaborators Paul Leonardi, Jackie Ng Lane, and Michael Johnson!

More information about the grant can be found here.


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Noshir Contractor delivered a talk at Midday@McCormick

With social distancing and remote work going on, our living condition today highly mimics what astronauts have to face during long-distance space exploration. Today 1/27 (11 AM CST), Noshir Contractor had the privilege to share some insights from our work with NASA that is targeted to investigate the long-term effects on teams working in isolated and confined environments during Midday@McCormick.

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Graduate student Jasmine Wu will be presenting her Research on Network Churn at NASN 2021!

Graduate student Jasmine Wu will be participating in the Third North American Social Networks Conference (NASN). She will be sharing her work on the Enterprise Social Media Project, particularly on Social Network Churn Within and Between Teams in Times of COVID-19. Her presentation touches on network changes happening in a multi-national industrial manufacturing company during COVID-19, with a focus on the differences in response to remote work between high and low performers. 

Don’t forget to check out her presentation this Thursday, 28th January 2021 from 1:30-1:50PM CST. You can tune in to her presentation via this link.



Wu, Y. J., Srinivas, A., Antone, B., DeChurch, L. A., & Contractor, N. S. Social Network Churn Within and Between Teams in Times of COVID-19. Accepted at the Third North American Social Networks Conference.

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