Research Grants

Campus-wide Competitive Faculty Grant Program Awards:

In November, 2004, CRIE announced the award of eight entrepreneurial research grants to Washington University faculty members who applied for funding for a variety of individual research projects focusing on some aspect of innovation and entrepreneurship.  The university’s Kauffman Research Subcommittee, chaired by Robert E. Thach, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, evaluated the 15 grant proposals submitted, and granted an initial year of funding for the eight grant proposals selected by the Subcommittee, some of which extended for up to three years. The continuing principal investigators, their schools, and the title and focus of their research projects are as follows:

Gary H. Brandenburger, Biomedical Engineering, the title of whose research project is “The Effects of Intellectual Property Policy on Engineering Design and Experiential Learning Courses,” will first survey leading universities to determine the effects of their intellectual property policies on their senior design courses, and then may survey graduates and employers to infer outcomes of the various intellectual property policies and course content.

Steven Fazzari & Bruce Peterson, Economics, College of Arts & Sciences, the title of whose research project is “Endogenous Technological Change, Economic Growth and Financing Constraints,” will explore the interrelationship of the R & D and equity financing booms over the past 20 years and develop a model, along with empirical support, of endogenous changes in economic growth cause by fluctuations in the availability of finance.

Barton Hamilton, Olin School of Business, the title of whose research project is “Angel Investing and the Equity Gap,” will investigate the determinants of angel investing behavior, by examining whether the trends observed in the formal venture capital market during the 1990s are also found in the informal angel investment market.

Mark J. Jakiela, Mechanical Engineering, the title of whose research project is “Users and Product Developers: A Model for Communal Innovation & Entrepreneurship,” will examine how to facilitate end user disclosure of ideas for improvement of products or production of aftermarket products.

Chris P. Long & Judi McLean Parks, Olin School of Business, the title of whose research project is “Cultivating and Combining Innovation’s Essential Ingredients: The Development and Integration of Control, Trust, and Fairness in Entrepreneurial Contexts,” will examine the actions managers take to promote an appropriate control-trust-fairness balance in ways that foster innovation and entrepreneurship.

Charles R. McManis, School of Law, the title of whose research project is “A Pilot Project to Collect Data and Design an Empirical Study on the Impact of Early-stage Access to Affordable Intellectual Property and Business Formation Legal Services on the Innovative Process,” will utilize the experience of the law school’s new Intellectual Property & Business Formation Legal Clinic, funded by the Kauffman Collegiate Campus Initiative, to examine how early-stage access to affordable legal services (and the lack thereof) affects the innovative process.

Gautam N. Yadama, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, the title of whose research project is “Entrepreneurial Approaches to Providing Public Goods: An Examination of Social Innovation in China,” will examine how citizens in small Chinese villages innovate and become entrepreneurial in securing essential social services, by comparing data from two Chinese provinces, one relatively prosperous on the coast of China, and the other a less prosperous province in southwestern China.

RECENT RESEARCH INITIATIVES

The Research Subcommittee met in June 2006 to make awards for a second round of research.  The Research Subcommittee received seven applications from five schools totaling requests for $185,000.  Four of the seven projects were awarded funds totaling $42,550.  The projects awarded funds include:

Heather Corcoran, Visual Communications –College of Art, has developed a project called “Visualizing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology.”  The project proposes to find opportunities for visual design to enhance the biotechnology industry in the St. Louis region at a critical moment in its development.  The project will investigate the role that visual design can begin to play as companies in the region grow in strength and ambition. It will focus on two areas:  1.The role of visual design in identity/brand development for business; and, 2.The role of visual design to communicate the science of innovation in a clear visual form (information design) Visual design recommendations in both of these areas will be delivered at two levels:  1. Company level: Recommendations to strengthen a particular company or category of company, thereby benefiting the industry as a whole; and, 2. Industry level: Recommendations to provide direct benefit to the industry in the St. Louis region and beyond.

Eric Leuthardt,Neurological Surgery School of Medicine & Guy Genin, Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering, have developed a project called “Understanding How Neurosurgeons Evaluate Emerging Clinical Devices.”  The project will involve three stages including a thorough financial analysis of the neurosurgical device market, assessing the salient technical fields from an engineering standpoint and conducting a survey w to assess neurosurgical perceptions of new neurosurgical devices.  The project will address a chronic problem between the business and medical community (especially neurosurgery which tends to be a tight knit insular group), which is actually articulating and fitting the product to the unmet need.  With the massive growth that is occurring in the neuro market there will be numerous opportunities for new technologies.  Having a fundamental and quantitative summary of their perceptions will have a marked impact on successful technology transfer. 

Brian McManus & Richard Bennet, Economics – Olin School of Business, have developed a project called “Charitable Fundraising through Product Sales.” The project will attempt to measure how a product’s demand is affected by its association with a charitable or social purpose.  The project will be the first attempt to measure the demand for products sold to benefit the social sector and will seek to quantify the incremental utility of products (or services), which support a known social cause rather than private or corporate interests. By understanding this attribute of products, organizations will be able to make informed pricing decisions and establish stronger marketing campaigns for their offerings.

Eric Mumford & Sung Ho Kim, Urban Design Program – Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, have developed a project called “Urban movement nodes as generators of human interaction and exchange.”  Mumford and Kim will analyze selected urban movement nodes in Seoul, Korea in terms of how they organize urban circulation patterns (pedestrian, vehicular and rail) and how the intersections between these modes are given three-dimensional built form.  The team will examine various destinations and routes served by these complexes and identify and analyze the places of human interaction and commercial exchange.  The PIs anticipate that the projects studied in an Asian metropolis such as Seoul may be especially rich in these, and they hope to determine whether these conditions might be replicable in other urban environments.