Pinar Karaca Mandic, Sofia Bapna, Karen Donohue portraits

Notable grants power research underway at Carlson School

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Ranked 10th in the world for research contributions, Carlson School faculty strive to investigate the greatest issues facing business today and envision a bolder future.

Here’s a look at research powered by prestigious grants currently underway at the Carlson School.

Connecting small farmers to wholesalers

Karen Donohue
Professor Karen Donohue

The number of American farms is in decline as farmers face growing operational costs. Professor Karen Donohue, along with colleague Katheryn Draeger from the U of M Extension, is exploring a new model to

connect more small and mid-size farms to wholesale markets.

Supported by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the researchers are piloting a new Farm to Rural Grocery to Wholesale (F2G2W) distribution model. The model leverages existing delivery networks between wholesalers and grocers to reduce the cost of distribution for rural farmers. Typically, trucks on these routes return empty to the wholesaler after making deliveries. With F2G2W, area farmers can utilize those empty trucks to “backhaul” their goods on the return trip to the wholesaler for redistribution. 

The project will determine which types of products are the best candidates for this model in terms of economic benefits for farmers and environmental benefits for the system as a whole. 

Recruiting women to IT jobs

Sofia Bapna
Assistant Professor Sofia Bapna

Jobs in information technology are among the most in-demand, but a gender gap still exists among employees in STEM fields. Research funded by a $407,450 National Science Foundation grant aims to determine what could increase female representation in these sectors.

The grant will fund Assistant Professor Sofia Bapna, Assistant Professor Russell Funk, and Professor Connie Wanberg’s ongoing research program on factors relating to the successful recruitment of women in IT jobs. Using state-of-the-art techniques from machine learning, natural language processing, and semantic network analysis, they will identify the characteristics of IT job advertisements that increase women’s likelihood of applying. In addition, using an event study methodology, they will identify the effect of maternity leave legislation on women’s employment outcomes. The research program uses novel large-scale data from an e-recruiting platform that includes about 6 million applications for IT jobs.   

Reimagining healthcare

Pinar karaca Mandic, PhD
Professor Pinar Karaca Mandic

A new financial tool to better address societal health issues, called a “social bond,” is under development in a research project funded by a nearly $500,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Systems for Action.

Professor Pinar Karaca Mandic is leading the study in partnership with the Minnesota Hospital Association along with Assistant Professor Richard Thakor and Managing Director of the Carlson School’s David S. Kidwell Funds Enterprise Susanna Gibbons.

The research team hypothesizes a “social bond” would allow multiple Medicaid Managed Care Organizations to pool investments and fund programs focused on social influencers of health, like food insecurity. After developing the structure of the social bond, the team will run simulations to determine the financial return and effect on health equity and offer ideas for potential implementation.

This article appeared in the Spring 2022 Discovery magazine

In this issue, new Carlson School research explores how greater connectivity leads to change, and evaluates the efficiency of health records systems and government spending.

Spring 2022 table of contents