Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
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Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise Announces 2017 Research Fellow Award Winners


June 2, 2016 – Chapel Hill, NC – The Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise has announced its 2017 research fellowship recipients. The research fellowships provide opportunities for advanced doctoral students, post docs and early-career faculty who are researching the topics of entrepreneurship, economic development, or global competitiveness. The fellowships seek to encourage cutting-edge research collaborations with the Kenan Institute’s thought leaders.

During this fellowship year, the Fellows are required to write articles based on the supported research collaboration and submit them to a peer-reviewed journal for publication. Fellows are also encouraged to present their research at relevant conferences and to participate in Kenan Institute events and education sessions throughout the year.

The fellowship winners were interviewed by a committee and selected based on the potential impact of the proposed research, commitment to publication, interest in collaboration, as well as other factors. The 2017 Fellows are: 

Tian Chen is a PhD candidate in strategy and entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School. His research interest focuses on technology and innovation, and he studies the market for technology. Specifically, Tian is looking at characteristics of firms and technologies that lead to a higher likelihood of that technology being sold.

David Fuente is a Program Coordinator at the Water Institute in Gillings School of Global Public Health and a PhD candidate in UNC ’s Department of City of Regional Planning. David is an applied environmental economics and planner who works on the provision of water and sanitation services in low and middle-income countries. With the KIPE Research Fellowship, David will study approaches to measuring impact in social ventures in the clean drinking water space. This research seeks to develop insights that have the potential to increase the flow of capital to clean drinking water social ventures and ensure that investments in these enterprises deliver the intended impact.

Ying Zhang is a PhD candidate in the operations area at UNC Kenan-Flagler. Her research interests are improving firms’ global competitiveness and discussing the impact of various risks and opportunities on optimal global operating strategies. Her research focuses on improving firms’ global competitiveness by providing insights on how to leverage emerging markets as a means to increase profit margin.

"We are pleased to recognize the quality research proposals of Tian, David and Zhang,” said Greg Brown, director of the Kenan Institute and a finance professor. “I am impressed by our Fellows’ focus on areas where the Kenan Institute is working to advance scholarship and economic growth."

About the Kenan Institute

Since 1985, the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise has encouraged cooperative efforts among privately owned businesses, higher education, and government. More than a “think tank,” we find ways to connect people and organizations, create opportunities and resources, and accelerate the achievements of our partners. Our work currently centers on helping innovative entrepreneurs, supporting North Carolina economic development, and building bridges with other educational institutions for research activities. Learn more at:

Contact: Lingmei Howell
Director of Outreach
(919) 962-2686