The Wharton School received an anonymous $10 million donation this week to propel research and learning initiatives through the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative.
WiN Director Michael Platt said he hopes to provide funds for postdoctoral fellows and summer research opportunities through this donation, as well as purchase lab infrastructure systems for future WiN research. He also hopes to add more courses on the subject of neuroeconomics to the current Wharton curriculum.
Platt said WiN has been running on a "start-up budget," funded by the Wharton School, Platt’s personal labs, and philanthropic gifts from alumni and friends of Wharton. The new donation will allow WiN to "turbocharge" their current progress, he said.
WiN was launched in September 2016 by Platt and Senior Fellow Elizabeth Johnson to stimulate interdisciplinary work at the intersection of neuroscience and business.
In its nearly four year history, WiN has worked closely with the Wharton Behavioral Lab and other on-campus research labs, but will now look to purchase new equipment to promote individual study.
“A lot of the work we do requires specialized technology, especially wearable brain monitoring devices, which I think are going to be increasingly important as we try to push neuroscience out of the lab and into the world of business environments and consumer environments," Platt said.
In the future, the Initiative is looking to reframe how companies approach a variety of challenges including brand strategy, customer experience, talent assessment, and business decision-making, according to a Wharton press release.
The funding will support collaborative research teams among students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty to work on research projects and increase collaboration with partners outside the University, including government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
Platt and Johnson had previously founded the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies at Duke University. Platt said they both left Duke for Wharton when he became interested in the intersection of neuropsychology and business analytics.
“This is the promise and potential of Wharton and Penn that originally drove me to join this team.”