MU faculty members from five academic divisions have begun a collaborative research effort on entrepreneurship, thanks to a $593,792 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City.
The foundation’s goal is to increase entrepreneurship and improve education.
The three-year grant will support MU’s “Advancing Academic Research on Entrepreneurship” project, proposed by the Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Research Group, or IERG.
The Kauffman Foundation approached MU in May, asking if any researchers had an interest in studying entrepreneurship, said project leader Bruce Walker, a professor of marketing and dean of the College of Business.
Nineteen MU faculty members formed the IERG, identifying specific questions about entrepreneurship they wanted to explore. After presenting their ideas to Bob Strom, vice president of the Kaufman Foundation, the group was approved for the grant.
Research brings together five different academic divisions
The project will explore the dynamics of life sciences start-up companies, factors that affect the creation of new organizations in high- and low-income communities and the creation of successful entrepreneurship education programs involving students and faculty of many disciplines, according to a release from the MU News Bureau.
Graduate students and faculty from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, the College of Arts and Science, the College of Business, the College of Education and the College of Engineering will work together on the research.
The collaboration of people from an array of disciplines is a remarkable part of this project, said Walker, because it is rare for researchers from five divisions on campus to work together.
“I’ve been astounded in the most favorable way to see faculty members from vastly different disciplines seeking and finding common ground for research in entrepreneurship,” he said.
High hopes for the diversity of ideas
Research team leader and professor of agricultural economics Nick Kalaitzandonakes agreed. “The hybridization of ideas is very exciting in this project,” he said.
Walker said the Kauffman Foundation expects that MU researchers will publish articles in many top academic journals as a result of the grant.
“This is music to the ears of faculty members,” he said, “in that there is a nice balance between the Kauffman Foundation’s expectations and the priorities of the faculty researchers.”