Research and Innovation Initiatives

New interdisciplinary initiatives at the Tepper School of Business unite researchers, students, and industry leaders whose work contributes to important topics shaping business and society.

In the modern era of rapid innovation, business leaders must constantly adapt to new ideas, models, and technologies that affect business practice and society in complex, multifaceted ways. Educating tomorrow’s leaders requires the thoughtful confluence of theoretical knowledge and practical experience across diverse areas of expertise.

Addressing these challenges, the Tepper School of Business has launched a series of interdisciplinary research initiatives designed to bring together research, coursework, and industry partnerships that work toward advancing understanding of prominent topics.

These initiatives serve two key purposes: The first is to identify and consolidate the research efforts of Tepper School faculty and students across disciplines and the business expertise of corporate and academic partners along related subject matter. The second is to foster further collaborations and support curriculum development.

The first of these initiatives concerns blockchains and cryptocurrencies, led by Sevin Yeltekin, Professor of Economics, Senior Associate Dean of Education.

The inaugural INTERSECT@CMU conference featured a panel titled “Decentralizing Trust: Blockchain’s Radical Potential,” which included Tepper School alumni and business partners alongside Ariel Zetlin-Jones, Associate Professor of Economics, who is a part of the initiative.

The initiative incorporates Tepper research and curricula in cryptocurrencies and tokenomics, smart contracts, financial technologies, and monetary policy. It includes partnerships with Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Security and Privacy Institute and with the PNC Financial Services Group.

Earlier this year, three additional initiatives launched: health care, inclusive growth and prosperity, and sustainability.

The health care initiative, led by Yeltekin and Alan Scheller-Wolf, Richard M. Cyert Professor of Operations Management, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and Research, spans such issues as diagnosis, pharmaceuticals, staffing, insurance, and organ donation. More than a dozen faculty at Tepper across disciplines like organizational behavior and theory, business technologies, operations, and strategy are researching aspects of health care delivery. The topic is integral to several courses in the doctoral, MBA, and undergraduate programs.

An economics and policy initiative titled Inclusive Growth and Prosperity, led by Chris Sleet, Professor of Economics, Head of Economics, investigates how issues like labor markets, education, taxes, and social policy contribute to uneven local and global prosperity. The newly launched office for Undergraduate Research in Economics is an integral part of this initiative, providing opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in new research in economic growth and policy design, and their impact on business and society.

The latest initiative — led by Nicholas Muller, Associate Professor of Economics, Engineering, and Public Policy; Lester and Judith Lave Development Chair in Economics, Engineering, and Public Policy — concerns sustainability, including energy and environmental policy, health and social well-being, engineering, and architecture. This initiative aims to integrate research at Tepper and across campus with focused educational offerings at the undergraduate and master’s levels.

As societal issues affecting the global economy evolve, these initiatives will grow and adapt, and new initiatives will be created. “Our goal is to demonstrate how our expertise and research shed light on and provide solutions to these important issues in a multdisciplinary, long-lasting way.” Yeltekin said. “These initiatives are designed to communicate our discoveries, offer solutions to topical problems businesses and society face, match with academic and nonacademic collaborators, and educate the next generation of leaders in business and society.” —