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Published 01/26/16

Contact: Ariella Steinreich, Steinreich Communications, (201) 498-1600, asteinreich@scompr.com

Faculty advance international research with Santander grants

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Four Bryant University faculty members have earned funding to enhance the scope and reach of their international research thanks to grant funding from Santander Bank. The Santander Faculty Research Collaboration Awards are given annually and began at Bryant in spring 2015. The funding addresses a mutual interest in connecting scholars from universities around the world, allowing them to share valuable research tools and advance new ideas.

The 2016 grants have been awarded to Associate Professor of Economics Edinaldo Tebaldi, Ph.D., coordinator of the Center for Global and Regional Economic Studies at Bryant University, and Professor of Management John Visich, Ph.D.

"Such face-to-face collaboration with research partners ensures high-quality outcomes.”

Dr. Visich will use the grant to advance research on re-shoring jobs to Mexico from Asia, a reversal of the familiar narrative of work leaving North America for cheaper labor markets in the far East. The funds will allow Visich to travel to Mexico and work with Dr. Antonio Rios Ramirez of Tecnologico de Monterrey, where Rios is Director General of the Innovation and Technology Transfer Park.

“Dr. Rios can introduce me to managers in Mexico and new research partners,” says Visich. “Such face-to-face collaboration with research partners ensures high-quality outcomes.”

Visich’s study looks beyond cost to consider the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit to explain the successful resurgence of the maquiladora industry in Mexican cities. His findings have potential benefits elsewhere, as well. “The information can also be utilized by managers in the United States so they can take a triple bottom line approach to facilitate re-shoring decisions here.”

Dr. Tebaldi is currently developing a multi-pronged approach to address economic inequality. His research centers on Brazil, which suffers from some of the most stark income inequality in the world. The Santander grant will allow Tebaldi to work closely with Dr. Joilson Dias at the Universidade Estadual de Maringa. In addition to collaboration with resident experts, Tebaldi will be able to collect timely data in areas crucial to the project. Access to detailed, recent findings can lead to big research payoffs.

Speaking of the wider applications for his study, Tebaldi says, “The empirical analysis developed in this research can serve as a reference for identifying trends in inequality within other national economies.”

2015 awards bear fruit in classroom

Previous awards were granted in spring 2015 to Associate Professor of Management Crystal Jiang, Ph.D., and Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems (CIS) Chen Zhang, Ph.D.

Dr. Jiang applied her grant to the study of innovation in Chinese markets. The opportunity to conduct observations in China and coordinate with scholars there was the next natural step in her body of work on emerging markets, innovation, organizational capabilities, and political influences.

My collaboration with scholars from China allows me to triangulate empirical research results from multiple perspectives, resulting in publishing articles in high quality peer-reviewed journals in the fields of international business and strategic management," says Jiang. International collaboration allows Jiang to publish in premier journals such as the Journal of Management, and have her work recognized by the European Business School Best Paper Award in Innovation Management as the top article in understanding emerging market firms' innovation activities.

In addition to published research, there has been a significant impact on campus learning. “I have been able to bring new findings into the classroom,” Jiang says. “These should be of particular value to students, since innovation is a key competitive strategy that many firms want to deploy.”

Conducting research in world-class physics lab

In summer 2015, Dr. Zhang visited Tsinghua University in Beijing. There, he was able to work with highly specialized equipment in the State Key Laboratory for Low-dimensional Quantum Physics. Positioning a CIS expert in a world-class physics lab is a rare opportunity. While the interdisciplinary nature of Zhang’s work made it necessary, the Santander grant made it possible.

Zhang’s research explores the use of sensors that monitor human vital statistics, an area that sits firmly at the crossroads of multiple academic fields. As a result, needed information can be hard to access. “Data for the material absorption of infrared light at 1550 nanometers has not been made available so far in the literature,” says Zhang, “and this was the only way to obtain it.”

The research funding from Santander contributes to the ambitious aims of Bryant’s historic capital campaign, Expanding the World of Opportunity: The Campaign for Bryant’s Bold Future. In particular, the grants’ support of international collaboration aligns with the campaign goal of Opening the Door to a World of Opportunity. The program allows Bryant faculty to promote the University’s reputation on a global scale and to forge meaningful connections with leading researchers around the world.


Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., is a leading private university offering an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education. Founded in 1863, Bryant University has approximately 3,600 graduate and undergraduate students from 35 states and 85 countries. Bryant University is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, College Factual/U.S.A. Today, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and Barron’s.