Sustaining Research Excellence

Professor Lily Fang
Lily Fang, Dean of Research, The AXA Chaired Professor in Financial Market Risk

“As an independent business school, we could not have achieved what we did without the generous support of our donors.”

“INSEAD prizes the academic freedom to pursue rigorous and relevant research”, says Lily Fang, Dean of Research and Professor of Finance at INSEAD. “But this academic freedom relies on both unrestricted and restricted gifts that sustain research excellence”.

“Unrestricted gifts allow faculty members to use their creativity and curiosity to investigate the questions they see as relevant,” says Fang. “With fewer strings attached, we can be nimble and agile in allocating resources to respond to new issues and research topics.”

On the other hand, restricted gifts — those designated for specific research themes — enable donors to express what matters most to them. “This is valuable feedback for our faculty in terms of identifying important societal trends,” says Fang. “It helps us align our research with the interests of donors.” In all cases, INSEAD faculty prioritise rigour and relevance in their scholarly projects, she adds.

Donor support was of paramount importance during the 2020/2021 academic year. When the Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on INSEAD’s research budget, donor gifts helped bridge the shortfall and enabled the school to protect its research activity. These funds also helped INSEAD adapt quickly to new ways of working as labs closed and in-person studies were halted.

By year end, INSEAD faculty had published eight books, 21 book chapters, 69 working papers, 79 case studies and 155 journal articles. Many faculty members also received best-paper awards and other academic recognitions. “It just speaks volumes to the importance of donor gifts,” says Fang.

Looking ahead, Fang has set three high-level priorities for research at INSEAD: First, to keep INSEAD’s Research & Development administration running smoothly by addressing funding needs. Second, to take the school’s research centres to the next level. And third, to make research the engine that drives INSEAD’s impact more broadly.

Fang expresses gratitude towards donors for making these future goals — and past successes — possible. “As an independent business school, we could not have achieved what we did without the generous support of our donors,” she says.

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