Research Opportunities with Corporate Partners

Available Datasets

Academics are encouraged to submit a proposal for access to available data at the Wharton AI & Analytics Initiative. The most successful proposals are clear, concise, and worded in a way that someone unfamiliar with the technical aspects of modeling can understand.

Submission Guidelines

Please note this will be posted to the the Wharton AI & Analytics Initiative website should your proposal be awarded.
Author(s) name, title, affiliation, and e-mail address
Please designate a corresponding author.
Data Needs
Include a bulleted list of data required or requested for analysis not explicitly mentioned during this webinar. While we can’t guarantee the inclusion of these items, we are happy to investigate the availability.
Describe expected contribution(s), covering both the academic and practical aspects. Please keep it concise and cite work as necessary to explain your academic contribution.
Detailed Project Proposal
Describe the proposed research. Please include enough detail that we can assess the feasibility and merit of the proposed approach. For example, modeling projects should include at least a sketch of the model. Experimental projects should include an outline of the research design. Please also include a rough estimate of how long the project will take.
Include up to a paragraph-long biography highlighting what each team member will contribute to the project.
Executive Summary Slide
Include one slide (preferably in PowerPoint) describing your work at a managerial level to give the Corporate Partner an easy-to-understand, visual summary of your research project.

Research FAQ

Can I augment the data provided with my own external data or lab experiments?

Yes, absolutely! Proposals for this type of work are generally evaluated favorably. We ask only that you describe your plans in your proposal.

Do I have to be part of the University of Pennsylvania to submit a proposal?

No, teams do not need to be affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania to participate in an academic research project. Researchers from all institutions worldwide are encouraged to submit a proposal!

How do I know that the data are going to be ‘good’? What if the data described aren’t exactly what I need?

When the Wharton AI & Analytics Initiative develops an academic research project with a company, we try to assemble a dataset that will provide as much information as possible and then describe that data in the webinar. The webinar slides typically describe the structure of the data and the names of key fields included. We also provide summary statistics that describe the variation in the data so researchers can think about what types of models the data might support. We encourage researchers to ask questions during the webinar, as it provides the opportunity to receive answers directly from company representatives.

If there are variables relevant to your research that were not included in the webinar’s description of the dataset, we encourage you to note these requests in your proposal. We can’t guarantee that it will be available (or even exist), but we are happy to investigate its availability.

How is a Wharton AI & Analytics Initiative academic research project different from a consulting engagement?

When developing an academic research project, Wharton AI & Analytics Initiative (WAIAI) Corporate Partners are encouraged to bring forward their most fundamental and critical business challenges. WAIAI works to stress the fact that while academic projects tackle the most challenging problems, they do tend to take longer than the average consulting engagement and can be somewhat unpredictable. In general, Corporate Partners do not expect the same short timelines or frequent status updates as they might get from a vendor.

Research teams have much more control and creative freedom over their own projects and are encouraged to share the key findings with the data sponsor when the paper is complete.

How will I get the data?

Selected teams are required to sign a standard data sharing agreement that outlines how the data may be used. The agreement always allows for publication of research findings based on the data but may restrict researchers from using the data for other uses, such as teaching. After the agreement is signed, WAIAI will share further details about how to access the data.

I’m interested in a dataset from one of the past academic research projects. Can I get access?

After the academic research project comes to completion, some of our Corporate Partners opt to make their data available to a broader pool of researchers for educational purposes. However, to be fair to the originally accepted research teams, we cannot accept new proposals while the project is ongoing.

Open Projects

If I can’t make it to the webinar, can I still submit a proposal?

Absolutely! All webinars are archived on our research page and can be viewed at your convenience. The archive is typically posted 1-2 days after the webinar.

Is there funding associated with an academic research project?

Generally, there is no funding associated with an academic research project, but if you have a specific need for funding directly related to the project, please let us know and we will consider it.

Please note that we do not provide funding for salaries, fellowships, or computer equipment. We are also happy to work with a team that plans to apply to other funding sources to pursue the academic research project.

What if there is an activity that I want to do with the Corporate Partner during the project? For example, interviews with senior management or field experiments on the Corporate Partner’s website?

While we cannot make any guarantees, requests such as this may be possible. We ask that you describe your plans in your project proposal, making a case for why the company should invest the time and resources necessary to do what you are asking. The company will then evaluate your proposal and decide.

How long will it take to hear back about my proposal?

Depending on the Corporate Partner’s questions, the review process is, on average, one week. WAIAI will keep you updated if the process will take longer.