July 25, 2019 | By Clare Becker | Back to blog
Associate Professor Jon Eckhardt has been named a Discovery Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. Photo by Paul L. Newby II

Jon Eckhardt, an associate professor of management and human resources at the Wisconsin School of Business, has been named a Discovery Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Discovery Fellows are cross-disciplinary and selected from across campus by nomination for five-year appointments.

According to WID, the institute “experiments with new ways of creating unlikely campus-wide interdisciplinary research teams that generate unexpected discoveries.” The Discovery Fellows program establishes research collaborations with faculty of exceptional ability in order to expand the scope of research and promote WID’s interdisciplinary mission.

Eckhardt is also the Robert Pricer Chair in Enterprise Development and a faculty affiliate with the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship. His research includes the use of information in entrepreneurship, firm formation, venture finance, and initial public offerings.

Eckhardt’s most recent project with Brent Goldfarb of the University of Maryland is a multi-year study of student entrepreneurship and university entrepreneurial ecosystems. The project is made possible by grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, American Family Insurance, and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). A goal of this work is to make contributions to academic literature while also producing actionable insights that can be used to improve entrepreneurship at academic institutions.

“The study of entrepreneurship occurs in many fields including business, economics, sociology, and psychology, and utilizes a wide range of scientific methods, from ethnography to machine learning,” says Eckhardt. “As a multi-disciplinary research institute, the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery hosts scholars with research capabilities spanning many disciplines. We are looking forward to collaborating with them as we continue our research.”

A growing team

Several personnel will be added to the project this year as it expands, says Eckhardt.

Researcher Clint Harris joins the project thanks to the funding provided by WARF and American Family Insurance. Harris received his PhD in economics from Purdue University. His research focuses on labor economics, economics of education, and applied econometrics.

“The goal of my research is to identify practical interventions that encourage individuals to become entrepreneurs if they are likely to succeed at it,” says Harris. “The biggest challenge arises from not only identifying interventions that encourage entrepreneurship, but determining which types of individuals will benefit the most from these interventions.”

An additional postdoctoral researcher, Chuan Chen, will join the team in August. Chen recently completed a PhD in economics from the Olin Business School, Washington University in St Louis. His research interests include the study of entrepreneurship and innovation, labor economics, industrial organization, and applied microeconomics. His dissertation used a two-sided matching framework to measure the impact of business accelerators.


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