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Innovation [X] Grant Enables Unique Economics of Ebola Research

2/4/2019 12:00:00 AM The School of Innovation at Texas A&M University recently announced “The Boom and Bust of Economics of Ebola” project as a recipient of their 2019-2020 Innovation [X] Grants. The project is a collaboration between EC3, the McFerrin Center on Entrepreneurship, and the Pandemic Preparedness and Policy Program at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs.

Texas A&M University’s School of Innovation created the Innovation [X] Program to provide grants to multidisciplinary teams to work together to address real-world challenges. The program offers faculty the chance to facilitate transformational learning projects for students to produce meaningful deliverables and impactful solutions to problems. The teams can be comprised of faculty, undergraduates and graduate students, and post-docs from a broad array of disciplines.

“The Boom and Bust of Economics” project originated from EC3, an entrepreneurship program in Beni, Democratic Republic of the Congo that served as practical intervention for conflict mitigation and as a way of learning how to support entrepreneurs in regions of conflict, limited connectivity, and conservation concern. When an Ebola outbreak occurred shortly after the launch, it created an opportunity to study the impact of Ebola response on the economics of the town and on the entrepreneurship.

Students from economics, conservation, public health, entrepreneurship, and policy will form the collaborative team conducting research to gather real data on the boom and bust of Ebola response in Beni. The majority of the research by the students will be done through collecting anecdotal data using phone calls and Skype with the entrepreneurs.

Dr. Leslie Ruyle, Associate Research Scientist and Assistant Director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government Public Service will lead the project with Dr. Cecilia Giusti, Associate Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and Associate Dean for Outreach and Diversity in the College of Architecture. Also contributing to this project are: Dr. Richard Lester, Executive Director of the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School; Dr. David Flint from Mays Business School; Dr. Brian Colwell from the School of Public Health; Dr. Christine Crudo Blackburn from the Scowcroft Institute at the Bush School; and Dr. Catharina Laporte from the Department of Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts.

This project will bridge the three Texas A&M programs – EC3, the McFerrin Center on Entrepreneurship,
and the Pandemic Preparedness and Policy Program at the Scowcroft Institute – to create a unique and impactful outcome in learning about real-world challenges for the students, while informing international development professionals on the boom and bust economics from a pandemic.