Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Assistant Professor of Business Analytics Beste Basciftci and Assistant Professor of Finance Jiajie Xu were selected for Early Career Scholar Awards from the University of Iowa Office of the Vice President for Research.

Each recipient was given $30,000 to support their research projects.

Xu, who also has the Chris and Elise Klein Faculty Excellence Fellowship in Finance, began at Tippie this academic year. She studies corporate finance and entrepreneurship.

Her research project:

“The impact of place-based tax incentives on local business formation and inequality.”

Xu plans to use the funding from this award to examine the Opportunity Zone program of 2017, the largest place-based tax-incentive policy in recent U.S. history with the goal of addressing regional inequality. While policymakers have invested billions of dollars to address inequality in target neighborhoods, the impact of these place-based programs on local economic growth and employment has been mixed. Xu will focus on the Opportunity Zone program’s impact on local entrepreneurship through financing channels, in the hope of informing how the government can design and launch better tax incentive programs in the future.

Basciftci, who holds degrees in industrial engineering, computer engineering, and operations research, previously won the Best Student Paper Award from INFORMS (2018) and the Best Paper Award from the Institute of Industrial and Systems engineers (2021).

Her research project:

“Risk-averse predictive optimization for resilient and sustainable energy systems”

Integration of renewable energy and storage technologies into the power grid is critical for achieving climate goals and ensuring the balance between electricity supply and demand. Basciftci will develop prediction and optimization models to address various uncertainties stemming from this integration within a risk-averse framework. Her models could  help optimize maintenance and operations of renewable power facilities while reducing the risk of blackouts, which could make renewable energy a more viable option for generating electricity.

The Early Career Scholars program aims to help tenure-track assistant professors develop a competitive proposal and secure an externally funded award. In addition to up to $30,000 in funding, the university’s Research Development Office provides recipients individual grantsmanship consulting and support to visit program officers.

“By providing seed funding, coaching, and ongoing support, we aim to both enrich the university’s research portfolio and help new faculty members advance their scholarship, and with it, their professions.” said Research Development Office Director Aaron Kline.

The Early Career Scholars program is part of the Seeding Excellence Initiative, which was funded in the first year of the Public-Private Partnership (P3).