Projects

Dynamic Economies

Real-World Research Projects Defined by Local Communities

NCGrowth is currently considering building an online resource to engage PhD candidates and faculty in multiple disciplines by serving as a clearinghouse for real-world research projects defined by local communities but suitable for the best academic journals. NCGrowth seeks a Kenan Scholar to help us determine the feasibility of this initiative. Activities might include: identifying the best-fit academic disciplines; contacting researchers at UNC and other universities to understand the most useful way to frame potential projects; identifying similar resources at UNC or other universities for comparison.


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NCGrowth

NCGrowth’s mission is to help businesses create good jobs and to help communities create sustainable and equitable opportunities for their people
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Contacts

Mark Little

mark_little@unc.edu

Entrepreneurial Ventures

Soft-Landing Designations for International Business Relocation and Expansion

Global companies often want to set up operations in the United States, to expand their global footprint, enter specific markets, tap into local/regional workforce and expertise, and other strategic reasons. Many companies, especially small- and medium- sized entities meet with a range of difficulties in finding placement in the US. In order to address these issues and promote the influx of new international companies, some regions create “soft-landing” areas or hubs that offer support services to ease the transition for these companies. Such support services can include: preparatory work, business planning and mentorship, identification of distribution or strategic partners, organizational and incorporation services, legal, human resources, marketing, and a range of others. Incubation space or other industrial space may also be available to incoming companies. This research project will explore whether soft-landings designations are successful in attracting international businesses and whether they are productive sources of economic development. Further, this project will explore opportunities for the creation of a local/regional soft-landing hub in North Carolina and an analysis of the potential economic impact. This project offers significant opportunity to network with domain experts in a variety of fields.


Contacts

Christopher B. Bingham

cbingham@unc.edu

Ted Zoller

zoller@unc.edu

Technology Licensing Data Capture

Licensing is a fundamental process for technology transfer and value capture of intellectual property. Universities, government agencies, and companies of all size use licensing as a source of technology transfer and revenue generation. Despite being commonplace in the market, little is known about the specifics of licensing transactions or the quantitative aspects for benchmarking intellectual property value estimations. The difficulties in obtaining usable licensing data extend to the public and private sector and may be a unique opportunity area for investigation. This research project will entail benchmarking all available licensing data sources (public or privately held) and determining what opportunities exist for creating a database of licensing data that can be accessed for research as well as translational purposes. There may also be opportunities to analyze the potential business models associated with this database.


Contacts

Christopher B. Bingham

cbingham@unc.edu

Ted Zoller

zoller@unc.edu

Hedge Fund Characteristics

Hedge funds are in fact simply a legal structure for investment activity, rather than a separate asset class or market strategy. While data are increasingly available on the returns of hedge funds, very little additional information is available in the public domain about hedge fund characteristics such as portfolio holding details, manager characteristics, and investor base. This project is an exploratory analysis attempting to identify methods for obtaining important information about hedge fund portfolios and managers. Data sources might include information available from investment consultants, funds-of-funds, banks or the scraping of information from public sources (e.g., certain regulatory filings). The ideal candidate will have some experience in data analytics and information science. The deliverable for the project will be a strategy document detailing specific methods and opportunities for obtaining information on hedge funds that would be useful for academic researchers and policy makers. The project will be supervised by Prof. Christian Lundblad and Prof. Greg Brown of the finance area.


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Institute for Private Capital

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The Institute for Private Capital improves public understanding of the role of private capital in the global economy. Academic and industry experts work together to generate new knowledge about private capital markets based on objective academic research.
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Private Credit Investment Funds

While “mezzanine financing” funds have an established history among closed-end private investment vehicles, the number and scope of funds investing the private credit space has expanded significantly in the post GFC period. The Institute for Private Capital is conducting research to map out the private credit fund space to understand the various characteristics of fund risk and return. This project includes assisting with detailed data collection, data analysis, and generation of a white paper based on the analysis. The project is being led by Prof. Shawn Munday of the finance area.


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Institute for Private Capital

321
The Institute for Private Capital improves public understanding of the role of private capital in the global economy. Academic and industry experts work together to generate new knowledge about private capital markets based on objective academic research.
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Co-founder Dynamics

Cofounders are important. They help write code, craft strategy, chase leads, pitch investors, share emotional drain, and complement deficiencies. Given these benefits, most startups have co-founders vs solo founders. In fact, larger founding teams have been repeatedly shown to have better entrepreneurial performance. Indeed, many argue that the selection of co-founders is the most important decision in startup. For example, 65% of high-potential startups fail as a result of conflict among co-founders, according to Noam Wasserman, a professor at Harvard Business School who studied 10,000 founders for his book "The Founder's Dilemma." Intriguingly, however, academic research is largely silent on how co-founders work with each other. It talks about founders or entrepreneurs but generally talks about them as single individuals. Or, the literature refers to them as a collective, assuming away individual differences thus providing little understanding about cofounder interactions over time. Overall, co-founder dynamics are both important and underexplored. We address this gap. We explore cofounder dynamics – how co-founders select each other and effectively and (less effectively) work together.


Contacts

Christopher B. Bingham

cbingham@unc.edu

Ted Zoller

zoller@unc.edu

Global Commerce

Agricultural Value Chain

In this research project, we will explore how firms can adopt the best of the breed techniques related to value chain management in an emerging country context in the agri industry. In particular, we will look at small scale farmers and their shortcomings and how the value chain practices could be tailored to make them more productive and successful.


Contacts

Jayashankar M. Swaminathan

msj@unc.edu

Global Health Supply Chains

In this research project, we will explore how the best in breed commercial supply chain practices could be adopted in the domain of public health systems in emerging countries. The research would involve identification of successful practices, challenges and gaps in their adoption and recommendation/approaches to tailor those to the public health environment.


Contacts

Jayashankar M. Swaminathan

msj@unc.edu

Economics of Electricity Storage

Professor Arbogast is working on the economics of electricity storage in anticipation of our next major conference. Currently, the Kenan Institute research team is helping with a literature search on options for addressing the renewables intermittency problem - obviously, storage is a big part of that story. What we are planning to tease out are the baseline economics of these options. This begins with getting the correct economic framework, then sorting through all the half-baked versions that are circulating, and putting them together, a seriatim, on an apples-to-apples basis. We are looking for Kenan Institute Scholars who are interested in getting involved and are qualified to help us with the project.


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Energy Center

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Seven Technologies that are Changing the World

The University of Toronto Press has contracted Dr. Al Segars to write a book about the “Seven Technologies that are Changing the World” (see abstract below). Through a comprehensive survey, Dr. Segars has identified these technologies and their impacts. Dr. Segars is interested in having students help him find examples of these technologies and their uses by businesses, scientific institutions and government. While it is easy to believe that technology has matured completely over the last five to seven years, nothing could be further from the truth. Many believe that we are at the “starting line” of a universal technological revolution that will fundamentally change key aspects of life such as commerce, healthcare, the environment, and learning. Through a wide-scale survey of technology-based entrepreneurs, this study seeks to identify a set of “core” technologies that might be the foundation for such revolutionary change. Our findings indicate that seven broad classes of technologies seem to underlie an emerging revolution. These technologies are: Pervasive Computing, Wireless Loops, Biotechnology, Additive Manufacturing, Cloud/Big Data, Nanotechnology and Next Generation Robotics. These seven “life-changing” technologies are discussed in terms of their impacts, implications, and future trajectories.


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Center for Sustainable Enterprise

UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Center for Sustainable Enterprise assembles and shares thought leadership in research, education, and best practice. Our goal is to empower business leaders in their quest for shareholder value while exercising environmental stewardship and promoting societal well-being.
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Contacts

Albert H. Segars

al.segars@unc.edu

Impact of Digitalization and 3D Printing on Supply Chain and Manufacturing

Digital tools are increasingly being used in the design, sourcing, manufacturing and delivery of products. The effect is expected to be transformative but little is understood about how or what the long-term impact might be on current processes. In this project, Kenan-Flagler MBA students will work with the Center for Digital Enterprise & Innovation, its corporate partner Boeing, and their parts subsidiary Aviall, to explore the implications of moving to 3D printing for non-flight-critical aerospace parts for its customers. Aviall is the world’s largest aviation parts company with a yearly business of more than $4B. In order to reduce high inventory costs and increase responsiveness, Aviall is exploring 3D printing. Students will work with CDEI researchers to design a pilot project for a 3D-appropriate line of parts. As part of the pilot, students will assess the impact of 3D printing on Aviall’s: 1) purchasing patterns; 2) inventory management practices; 3) vendor relationships; 4) supply chains; and 5) aftermarket support, among others.


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Center for Digital Enterprise & Innovation

The Center for Digital Enterprise & Innovation is a research partnership between its corporate partners and academic researchers at the Kenan-Flagler Business School and collaborating universities around the world for the purpose of both understanding how innovations in digital technology are changing the nature of competition and supporting the digital transformation of corporate operations worldwide.
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Contacts

Noel Greis

noel_greis@unc.edu

Data Science for Global Manufacturing

Kenan-Flagler MBA students will work with the Center for Digital Enterprise & Innovation, and its partners UNC Charlotte and NCSU, on the creation of a North Carolina Center for Manufacturing Data Science. The primary industrial partner for planning is General Electric. The specific tasks that support this initiative include: 1) conducting a survey of data science applications and implementations in North Carolina manufacturing companies (c.f. General Electric, Siemens, IBM, Honda Aircraft, Volvo, Caterpillar, Teleflex, Baxter Healthcare, Cardinal Health, etc.); 2) developing a set of metrics that asses and evaluate the sophistication of data gathering, storage, and use across North Carolina companies; and 3) working with a selected manufacturing company to develop a business case that leverages enterprise data in an Internet-of-Thing environment.


Related Centers

Center for Digital Enterprise & Innovation

The Center for Digital Enterprise & Innovation is a research partnership between its corporate partners and academic researchers at the Kenan-Flagler Business School and collaborating universities around the world for the purpose of both understanding how innovations in digital technology are changing the nature of competition and supporting the digital transformation of corporate operations worldwide.
More

Contacts

Noel Greis

noel_greis@unc.edu

Internet-of-Things for Healthcare and Wellness

Kenan-Flagler MBA students will work with the Center for Digital Enterprise & Innovation and Intel on the development of an Internet-of-Things (IoT) application in healthcare that leverages machine learning as a vehicle for moving to personalization and precision in healthcare and wellness. The topic relates to weight control for wellness (c.f. athletes) and health (c.f. insulin control). The MBA will work with CDEI staff in support of the project. Specifically, the MBA will: 1) conduct a literature search of related IoT-based applications; 2) support the design of the application architecture; and 3) develop a business case for the stakeholders (c.f. Intel, AARP, Johnson & Johnson). The business case will address the overarching business concept, the underlying business model, the costs and benefits to the relevant stakeholders, and the revenue streams that can be created from the application.


Related Centers

Center for Digital Enterprise & Innovation

The Center for Digital Enterprise & Innovation is a research partnership between its corporate partners and academic researchers at the Kenan-Flagler Business School and collaborating universities around the world for the purpose of both understanding how innovations in digital technology are changing the nature of competition and supporting the digital transformation of corporate operations worldwide.
More

Contacts

Noel Greis

noel_greis@unc.edu

Kenan Institute Projects

Immerse in a collaborative environment where subject knowledge, technical skills, individual leadership, and professional talents are challenged and further developed through action learning and active engagement in applied research at the Kenan Institute.