David S. C. Chu Award

Robert Cubeta, David S. C. Chu Award recipient

2020 David S. C. Chu Award for Research Excellence


Robert Cubeta of the Strategy, Forces and Resources Division is the first winner of the David S. C. Chu Award for Research Excellence, named in honor of the former IDA president. The award is to be presented annually to a Research Associate who has made one or more outstanding analytic contributions in support of IDA’s mission.

The award reflects Robert’s significant contributions to the analysis and understanding of contagious disease transmission in military populations and the development of contagious disease transmission models.

As the COVID-19 virus emerged in Wuhan, China in January, Robert quickly adapted the contagious disease modeling tools he had previously developed to model this new and rapidly spreading virus. Robert was a key member of the Department of Defense-wide COVID Task Force modeling and simulation team. He provided critical assistance to the efforts of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, and the Surgeon General of the Army to understand and control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Through his work during this national emergency, Robert exemplified the attributes that IDA values most in its researchers: rigorous analytic capabilities and trusted expertise that enabled him to deliver high-quality, impactful results rapidly for IDA sponsors.

He joined the IDA family in 2013 following his graduation from Bates College in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics. Robert is currently completing his studies at Georgetown University for a master’s degree in mathematics as an IDA Scholar.