Villanova University, Villanova School of Business

Villanova University

Lab for Advancement of Interdisciplinary Research

Innovation Statement

The Laboratory for the Advancement of Interdisciplinary Research provides a physical space for VSB faculty and students to conduct research studies using experimentation, surveys, interviews, focus groups, and other primary sources.

Call to Action

The Villanova School of Business (VSB) continually explores opportunities to support faculty research initiatives that also directly benefit our students. VSB leadership sought an opportunity to promote collaboration and innovation between students and faculty, both within the school and among the larger Villanova University community. Given the increasing importance of market research and analytics in a variety of business fields, having a dedicated space to conduct cutting-edge research and experiments seemed a natural fit with VSB’s mission to position students and faculty to be thought leaders in their fields.

Innovation Description

For years, VSB faculty have conducted research and experiments, but without a dedicated space, the efforts were often unseen or overlooked, and not publicized. Seeking to elevate the profile of, and increase student engagement in, VSB’s research enterprise, dean Joyce Russell prioritized the establishment of a physical space to conduct this research. Of particular import throughout the design process was ensuring that the resulting facility would be truly interdisciplinary, allowing faculty and students from across Villanova to benefit from the space. Over the summer of 2018, the Lab for Advancement of Interdisciplinar Research (LAIR) was built within the business school. The 764-square-foot space can seat 25 subjects and is appointed with 25 laptops, two screens, and a large two-way mirror to allow for subject observation.

Innovation Impact

VSB anticipates that the LAIR will have a significant impact on the research enterprise at Villanova. The establishment of the LAIR allows for the active recruitment of students to serve as subjects in experiments designed and led by faculty and students. While collecting data can be accomplished largely online, the ability to more readily include observational and interactional data provides experimenters with more robust and nuanced data. The subsequent analysis and resulting publications will enable VSB to continue in its mission to promote a culture of research and be recognized as a research leader among top business schools.

The LAIR has already caught the attention of faculty and students in the recruiting process, allowing VSB to attract top talent. While use of the LAIR has yet to be formally incorporated into specific courses, students already have access to do research for their classes, and the intention is that over the next several semesters, opportunities will be identified throughout the VSB curriculum that would require all students to participate as a subject and/or experimenter in the LAIR.

Reference Links

Innovation Partners

The LAIR was designed for interdisciplinary use, for all departments within the Villanova School of Business and the university as a whole.