Two School of Business Faculty, Nirup Menon and Jiasun Li Awarded 2017 Multidisciplinary Research Competition Funding

Building on their strengths in computer modeling, simulation, and analytics, two School of Business professors, Nirup Menon, and Jiasun Li, were separately awarded grant funding to expand the knowledge frontier in areas of factors contributing to cancer outcome disparities and applying Bitcoin and Blockchain data to furthering theories of the firm.

The Provost provided $160,000 in funding for these projects and, reflecting the Deans’ shared commitment to see Mason’s multidisciplinary research enterprise, Deans Agouris (Science), Ball (Engineering), Boehm-Davis (Psychology), Pohaska (Health and Human Services), Peiperl (Business), and Rozell (Policy and Government) came together to contribute an additional $228,000 for a total award amount of $338,000 across ten projects.

The two School of Business colleagues projects and multidisciplinary partners are: “Cancer Health Disparities: Modeling Social, Hospital and Policy Factors Associated with Colorectal Cancer Survival” by Cara Frankenfeld, Timothy Leslie, Nirup Menon, Y. Tony Yang, and “The Creation and Organization of Firms: Theory and Evidence from Bitcoin Mining Pools” by Foteini Baldimtsi, Lin William Cong, Zhiguo He, and Jiasun Li.

“Our grant is to study why two individuals of different races, but with very similar symptoms, stage of cancer, and prognosis, end up with different outcomes when they access the hospital closest to them for healthcare,” says Nirup Menon about his project. “We will use data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute combined with census and healthcare provider databases to validate models for disparities in cancer outcomes. My main role in the project is to provide expertise on organizational and technology factors of hospitals,” he added.

Jiasun Li’s project is applying Bitcoin and Blockchain data to understanding firm formation and evolution. Bitcoin and its underlying distributed ledger technology (i.e. Blockchain) not only have practical potentials but also offer financial economists an unprecedented new laboratory with rich new data to rethink numerous classic academic questions.

Li and his colleagues will first model Bitcoin mining activities theoretically in order to illustrate how firms arise endogenously out of a decentralized economy. The results will shed new light on questions concerning theory of the firm, such as why firms emerge in a market economy and what determines their size. This will be followed by empirical analysis of public Blockchain data to understand how firms’ organizational structures adapt to their firm characteristics and operating statistics.

Mason and the Provost are providing initial project funding through the Multidisciplinary Research Awards to foster Mason multidisciplinary research Mason that has to potential to scale and attract research partners from industry and government.

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Christina Batcheler

Christina Batcheler Program Operations & Public Relations Specialist Research Partnerships & Grants Initiative, School of Business & Center for Assurance Research and Engineering (CARE), Volgenau School of Engineering George Mason University P: 703-993-3746 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030 *For our latest news, please go to our blog at: *To receive our news via email periodically, please send your email to: *Follow our tweets at: *Join our Meetup Group for upcoming events at:

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