Leadership Gift to Accelerate Neuroscience at Wharton and Create Actionable Insights in Brain Science and Business

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PHILADELPHIA, May 19, 2020 — Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett is delighted to announce an anonymous $10 million gift to amplify opportunities and outcomes of the cutting edge Wharton Neuroscience Initiative (WiN). This commitment will propel faculty research and teaching, student learning, and corporate engagement through WiN.

“WiN isn’t narrowly about brain science. It’s all about making connections – across industries and disciplines and throughout Wharton and Penn,” said Dean Geoff Garrett. “Exploring links among tech, analytics, business, and how we think, work, and make decisions couldn’t be more important in today’s global climate. This incredible gift acknowledges the significance of the research and outcomes produced by WiN and will turbocharge its discoveries even further.”

Under the leadership of James S. Riepe University Professor of Marketing, Neuroscience, and Psychology Michael Platt and Executive Director and Senior Fellow Elizabeth (Zab) Johnson, WiN works at the nexus of brain science and business. The Initiative strives to reframe how companies approach a variety of challenges — including brand strategy and customer experience; talent assessment and development; team dynamics and trust; negotiation and communication; and business decision-making.

WiN connects a diverse community of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, Executive Education clients, and staff, alongside individuals and external partners outside of the University. Rooted in Wharton and spanning the entire University, WiN engages the students, faculty, and resources of the Perelman School of Medicine, the Annenberg School for Communication, Penn Engineering, Penn Arts & Sciences, and other schools, centers, and institutes at Penn. WiN’s bold, ambitious, and comprehensive vision is to improve business, drive new discoveries and applications, and enhance the education of future leaders through the synthesis of neuroscience, psychology, business, technology, and analytics.

This new gift provides a blend of immediate and ongoing financial support for programmatic activities at WiN. Among the components supported by the funding are:

  • Collaborative Research Teams: Students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty will team up to tackle complex challenges in which neuroscience is positioned to develop innovative business solutions. Wharton teams will collaborate on applied research projects that can offer opportunities to engage with partners outside the University, including companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Funding will provide research support to increase the number of projects, areas of inquiry and impact, and people working in project teams, and offer competitive funding for postdoctoral fellows, who will help lead projects, mentor student researchers, and support the development of neuroscience technologies.
  • Summer Research Experiences: Undergraduates can obtain in-depth, full-time research experience, and MBA and other graduate students can seize the opportunity to lead research teams in conjunction with faculty and external partners. Funding will provide competitive summer internship support for on- or off-campus activities.
  • Innovative Curriculum: The growth of faculty research in neuroscience will infuse Wharton’s teaching and learning. New courses can serve as gateways into research experiences or serve as capstone experiences, bringing together knowledge, techniques, and applications to students at all levels.
  • Infrastructure: As WiN scales this crucial work, dedicated operating resources will enable managing and expanding WiN’s collaborative research teams and external partners, in addition to providing communications on the applications of WiN’s findings.

“We’re thrilled and grateful beyond words for this transformative gift, which will allow us to achieve our vision of rethinking and remaking business through the lens of neuroscience, psychology, and analytics,” said Michael Platt. “Our diverse and collaborative community will use this support to create value for companies, for consumers, and for society through neuroscience. This is the promise and potential of Wharton and Penn that originally moved me to join the team.”

About the Wharton School

Founded in 1881 as the world’s first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is shaping the future of business by incubating ideas, driving insights, and creating leaders who change the world. With a faculty of more than 235 renowned professors, Wharton has 5,000 undergraduateMBAexecutive MBA, and doctoral students. Each year 13,000 professionals from around the world advance their careers through Wharton Executive Education’s individual, company-customized, and online programs. More than 99,000 Wharton alumni form a powerful global network of leaders who transform business every day. For more information, visit www.wharton.upenn.edu.