Economic Research and Data

Conferences and Workshops

Bios of Presenters and Descriptions of their Institutions

Pierre Azoulay is an associate professor at the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He investigates the organization and governance of knowledge-intensive firms: What determines their boundaries? What are the mechanisms that prevent knowledgeable insiders from leaving with their human capital at anytime? What are the pitfalls involved in knowledge-production outsourcing? How do internal capital markets operate, and what role do they play beyond resource allocation? Can established firms reproduce market incentives inside the firm? Using tools from organizational economics, Dr. Azoulay’s research combines qualitative and econometric evidence to shed light on these issues.

Chris Coburn is executive director of CCF Innovations, which commercializes all inventions and related technology from the Cleveland Clinic. He is a recognized authority on technology commercialization and has consulted and spoken on the subject throughout North America and the world. Mr. Coburn serves on the boards of directors of CleveX, Merlot Therapeutics, PeriTec, PrognostiX, and BioEnterprise and is a trustee of Hathaway Brown School, Northeast Ohio Council of Higher Education, and Town Hall of Cleveland. The author of numerous articles and book chapters, he was editor and co-author of Partnerships, a key reference book on technology commercialization. He holds a master’s degree from George Washington University.

Jeff Davis is the recently appointed head of Global New Business Development for P&G Pharmaceuticals. He has been with Procter and Gamble for 20 years, serving in both the consumer and pharmaceutical businesses and drawing experience from working in five different product sectors and five different countries in North America and Europe.  For the past nine years, he has worked in the pharmaceutical industry in Germany, Canada, and now in the United States. Mr. Davis most recently served on the Board of Directors of Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies and has served on a number of other boards in the pharmaceutical sector and drug retailing. He earned his BS in marketing and his BA in German from the University of Utah.

Maryann Feldman is the Zell Miller Distinguished Professor of Higher Education at the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia. Dr. Feldman was previously the Jeffery S. Skoll Chair in Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a professor of business economics at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. While at Johns Hopkins University, she was the policy director for the Whiting School of Engineering as well as a research scientist at the Institute on Policy Studies. Dr. Feldman is on the Advisory Panel for the U.S. National Science Foundation's Program on Societal Dimensions of Engineering, Science, and Technology, and her research and teaching interests focus on the areas of innovation, the commercialization of academic research, and the factors that promote technological change and economic growth. She earned her Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University.

Patrick J. Fortune is a partner at Boston Millennia Partners and has over 30 years of experience in the healthcare, life sciences, and information technology sectors. He was previously president and chief operating officer of New Era of Networks, vice president and chief information officer at Monsanto, and vice president of information management at Bristol Myers Squibb. Dr. Fortune has served on the boards of directors of three public companies and on the engineering and scientific advisory boards of the University of Wisconsin, the University of Illinois, and the University of Chicago. He holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin, an MBA from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin.

Richard Freeman holds the Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics at Harvard University and serves as faculty co-chair of the Harvard University Trade Union Program. He is also director of the Labor Studies Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, senior research fellow in Labour Markets at the London School of Economics' Centre for Economic Performance, and visiting professor at the London School of Economics. His research interests include the growth and decline of unions, the effects of immigration and trade on inequality, transitional economies, youth labor market problems, crime, employee involvement programs, and income distribution and equity in the marketplace. He received his BA from Dartmouth College and his Ph.D. from Harvard University.

William R. Kerr is an assistant professor at Harvard Business School and a research associate of NBER and the Center for Economic Studies. His research focuses on innovation and productivity growth, jointly exploring firm-level decisions and macroeconomic consequences. His most recent work considers the role of immigrant scientists and entrepreneurs in U.S. technology development, as well as the subsequent diffusion of new innovations to the immigrants’ home countries. He is also studying the firm-level contribution of R&D to productivity growth, the influence of CVC investments on subsequent parent firm choices, and the voting mechanisms employed by angel and VC investors. Dr. Kerr received his BS in systems engineering from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. in economics from MIT.

Carl F. Kohrt joined Battelle as president and CEO after a 29-year career at Kodak, where he most recently served as executive vice president and chief technology officer. His accomplishments include the discovery or commercialization of new color imaging systems, several of which still serve as the basis for current products in the marketplace, and the transformation of R&D from a functional organization to one aligned with specific market-oriented portfolios and the entry into digital and networked businesses. Dr. Kohrt received his BS in chemistry from Furman University and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago. He was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago and received an MMS in management science from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Gerald Marschke is an associate professor of economics with appointments in the Department of Economics and the Rockefeller College at the State University of New York at Albany. He joined the Institute for the Study of Labor as a research fellow in 2005. His current research includes studies of the firm-to-firm and university-to-firm mobility of research scientists and its implications for the diffusion of technology in the economy. He has recently completed research examining the origins of the patent surge in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s and the relation between firm size and innovative productivity. His past and present research interests also include empirical studies of organizational incentives and worker productivity. Dr. Marschke holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.

Robert K. McMahan is the state science and technology advisor for North Carolina and the executive director of the North Carolina Office of Science and Technology in the Department of Commerce. In this role, he acts as senior advisor to the governor and others on science and technology matters. In addition to his duties with the state, Dr. McMahan also holds the positions of research professor of physics and astronomy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and adjunct professor of technology and management at the North Carolina State University College of Textiles. He received bachelor’s degrees in physics and art history from Duke University, his Ph.D. in physics from Dartmouth, and his postdoctoral fellowship from Harvard University/Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Center for Astrophysics.

Thomas C. Melzer co-founded RiverVest Venture Partners and serves as one of the firm’s managing directors. Prior to co-founding RiverVest, Mr. Melzer served as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, where he directed its involvement in the formulation of monetary policy, the supervision of banks, and the provision of payments services to depository institutions. In addition, he served on the FOMC, the Federal Reserve System's chief monetary policymaking body. He also served as chairman of the investment committee for the Federal Reserve pension plan. Presently, Mr. Melzer is a member of several boards, including those of Kereos and the Stanford Institute of Economic Policy Research Advisory Board. He received his BS in electrical engineering and his MBA from Stanford University.

Adair Morse is a Ph.D. candidate in finance at the Ross School of Business of the University of Michigan. Her papers include work on the academic setting as a platform for productivity and creativity (“Are Elite Universities Losing Their Competitive Edge?” and “What Has Mattered in Economics Since 1970”) and work on corporate governance (“Who Blows the Whistle on Corporate Fraud,” “The Nature of Corporate Fraud,” and “Are CEOs Rigging Incentive Contracts?”). Her dissertation studies the well-being consequences to the existence of high-interest consumer lending in the form of payday loans. She has been a managing accountant for Browning-Ferris Industries and an entrepreneur working in Poland during the transition years from the Soviet-backed regime.

Sandra Pianalto is the president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Before joining the Bank, Ms. Pianalto was an economist at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and served on the staff of the Budget Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. She currently serves on the boards of directors of the Cleveland Foundation, the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education, and many others. Ms. Pianalto earned a master’s degree in economics from the George Washington University. She is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and holds honorary doctor of humane letters degrees from the University of Akron, Baldwin-Wallace College, and Ursuline College.

Rory Riggs is the managing member of Balfour LLC, an investment management company. Mr. Riggs is the past president of Biomatrix, Inc., a NYSE-listed company that successfully developed and marketed one of the leading viscosupplementation products in the United States, Synvisc®, for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Prior to Biomatrix, Mr. Riggs was chief executive officer of RF&P Corporation and a managing director of PaineWebber Inc. He is currently on the board of directors of Royalty Pharma; GeneNews; FibroGen, Inc.; Cibus Genetics, LLC; eAppeals, LLC; and Medrium, Inc. and was involved in the founding of most of these companies. Mr. Riggs holds a BA from Middlebury College, Vermont, and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, New York.

Donald F. Smith, Jr., is the vice president of economic development at the Mellon Pitt Carnegie Corporation and chairman of Carnegie Mellon University’s Economic Development Council. He has worked on research related to venture capital and technological innovation as well as been a technology policy analyst specializing in the financing of new technologies and the development of regional technology clusters. Active in a number of community activities, Dr. Smith serves on the boards of the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County, Junior Achievement, and the Economics Club of Pittsburgh. He earned his BA in economics from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management.

Mark Sniderman is senior vice president and director of Research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. His responsibilities include directing the economic and monetary policy analysis of the Bank and overseeing the production of research publications. He also serves on the Senior Management Committee and the Credit Risk Committee. Dr. Sniderman currently serves as an advisor to a number of government and nonprofit organizations on the topics of education and economic development. He is past chairman of the Federal Reserve System’s Business Steering Group for Personal Computing Services and of the Committee on Research Automation, as well as a past president of the Cleveland Association for Business Economics. Dr. Sniderman earned a bachelor's degree from Case Western Reserve University and master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Lee T. Todd, Jr., became president of the University of Kentucky in 2001, after serving as senior vice president of IBM’s Lotus Development Corp. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UK and his master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While at MIT, he received six patents for high-resolution display technology and proposed using telecommunications and high-resolution displays for data conferencing. Dr. Todd is a member of the American Council on Education’s Board of Directors, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges Board of Directors, the Business Higher Education Forum, and the Council on Competitiveness. He is also a member of the National Science Foundation’s Education and Human Resources Committee.

Bruce Weinberg is an associate professor of economics at the Ohio State University and a research affiliate at the Institute for Labor Research in Bonn, Germany. His research interests include the effects of technological change and industrial shifts on the wage distribution, the determinants of youth outcomes with emphasis on the effects of family background and of neighborhoods, and how creativity and productivity vary over the lifecycle. A recent paper combines these interests by studying the effects of technological change on workers at different levels of experience and looking at lifecycle patterns in the adoption of new technologies and the effect of new technologies on the returns to experience. Dr. Weinberg received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.


Balfour LLC is an investment management company specializing in early-stage entrepreneurial activities in health care and biotechnology.

Battelle is a global science and technology enterprise that develops and commercializes technology and manages laboratories for customers. The company provides solutions and develops innovative products, helping commercial customers leverage technology into a competitive advantage. Battelle also teams with more than 800 federal, state, and local government agencies, providing cost-effective science and technology in the areas of national security, homeland defense, health and life sciences, energy, transportation, and environment.

Boston Millennia Partners provides private equity financing to high-growth companies in the healthcare, life sciences, telecommunications, and information technology industries. The company also offers expertise in finance, operations, engineering, life sciences research and development, and more. The growth and success of its portfolio companies have allowed Millennia Partners to grow and expand its capital base to over $700 million.

CCF Innovations is the Cleveland Clinic’s technology commercialization arm, translating nascent therapies, devices, and diagnostics into beneficial medical products through spin-off companies, licensees, and equity partnerships. To transition the Clinic’s innovations into widespread practice, CCFI’s comprehensive approach includes prototyping, seed and technology validation funds, clinical trials, translational research cores, animal facilities, on-site accelerator, entrepreneurs-in-residence, allied venture capital fund, expert staff, venture advisors, start-up mentoring programs, selective in-licensing, and ideation labs.

The Mellon Pitt Carnegie Corporation (MPC) is a joint venture of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. The organization’s main purpose is to foster economic development and technology transfer, particularly in engineering and the sciences.

The North Carolina Office of Science and Technology encourages, promotes, and supports scientific, engineering, and industrial research applications in North Carolina. The office works to investigate new areas of emerging science and technology, conducts studies on the competitiveness of state industry and research institutions in these fields, and works with the General Assembly and the governor to put into place the infrastructure that keeps North Carolina on the cutting edge of science and technology.

Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals is a research-based global organization dedicated to creating and delivering solutions that improve the health and well-being of people around the world. The department capitalizes by re-applying technologies developed in other research areas within Procter & Gamble and by tapping into key capabilities available in its corporate research and development unit.

RiverVest Venture Partners is a venture capital firm investing nationwide in emerging medical device, biopharmaceutical, and other health-care venture opportunities. Headquartered in St. Louis, RiverVest’s principals have the resources, knowledge, and relationships required to create world-class life sciences companies.