Department(s):The Business School
When you think of research at WPI what comes to mind? Biomedical engineers getting heart cells to beat on a spinach leaf? Maybe Robert Goddard blowing up parts of Salisbury Labs before being relegated to conducting experiments in what is now known as the Skull Tomb? What about researchers in the Business School? Nah, that’s not what comes to mind, because most people do not equate business and research. But our research enterprise is thriving at the WPI Business School,and we could not be prouder.
In the WPI Business School (WBS) Strategic Plan, Strategic Initiative 4 is focused on enhancing the visibility of WBS research by creating research labs and that is what we are doing with a goal to do better and not simply more. As the graph shows, we are clearly doing more research with a 287% growth rate in our research expenditures, but we are also doing better.
We are doing better through research that increases the reputation of WBS. During the period FY18-FY22, WBS faculty and scholars published 286 peer-reviewed journals increasing our reputation and recognition in the world. Evidence of this growth was acknowledged in a recent research paper that recognized WBS faculty as contributing more to the subject of “Blockchain Technology for Sustainable Supply Chains” than any other research institution or university in the world! Our increased recognition in FinTech was a factor in WBS being selected to host the Future Finance and Economics Association Conference: Fintech for Inclusivity, Growth, and the Future. It was the first time that this international conference was hosted in North America and with nearly 300 scholars, students, and industry leaders in attendance, it was the largest event held by WBS. Moreover, our User Experience Decision Making (UXDM) Lab is hosting their Fifth Annual User Experience Symposium on November 29, 2023, with a focus on AI. As we explore how AI is changing how we live and work, this will be a conference you will not want to miss. Register at https://uxsym.org.
We are doing better as indicated by the productivity within our labs. For example, since 2013 the Digital Health Lab has been awarded more than 20 federally funded projects totaling more than $10 million dollars. Since its inception in 2022, the Business Development Lab has helped launch 22 startup companies, providing support and mentorship through our AMP! (Advisors, Mentors, and Partners) program. Additionally, our Social Media Lab is providing opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students as they research the impacts of social media. The lab’s first Major Qualifying Project conducted “an analysis of stigma toward the mental health discussion of social media,” an incredibly important topic in the lives of our students. The lab’s students are also preparing several submissions for the 2024 Social Media & Society Conference.
And we are doing better because the outcomes of our research are yielding positive societal impact. Through the Analytical Research Collaborative for a Humane and Equitable Society (ARCHES) Lab, the advanced analytics software platform Annie MOORE (Matching for Outcome Optimization and Refuge Empowerment) is being used to support refugee placement in the United States. Annie boosts employment chances for resettling individuals by more than 30% over manual placement, ensuring that the needs of the individual being placed and the community in which they are being placed are met. The Worcester Internet of Things and Smart City through FinTech, AI, and Blockchain (Worcester IS FAB) Lab was launched as a mechanism for social good. Through our partnerships with WorcLab, Worcester State University, Mass Tech and Public Agencies, Industry, Non-Profit and Social Enterprises, Funders, and Community Leaders, we are making a difference in Worcester. The lab has supported new startups and advanced research in circular economies and blockchain applications, while fostering greater collaboration in our community.
So you see, the Business School is leading the way in research and I invite you to learn more about our efforts. As we increase the visibility of our research, we increase our ability to acquire resources, which increases our reputation. In addition, through our labs, students have the opportunity to work with faculty in intellectual activities beyond the classroom and work with the broader business community. As a result, we are studying important problems of practical and societal interest and enhancing our ability to make a difference in society. This is why we are proud, and my hope is that you are equally as proud of the faculty and students in your favorite Business School!
Dean Debora Jackson