Dr Aravind Ganesh, an assistant professor at University of Calgary, has won the 2022 Panmure House Prize, one of the UK's biggest academic accolades.
The US$75,000 Prize is open to academics around the world carrying out research into long-term investment and its relationship with innovation. It takes its name from Panmure House in Edinburgh, the former home of Adam Smith, the Scottish economist and philosopher renowned worldwide as the father of modern economics.
This year's five shortlisted finalists represented universities in the UK, US, and Canada, with Dr Ganesh ultimately crowned the winner during a ceremony at Panmure House. In doing so, Dr Ganesh has secured the funding to advance his research into developing a free market to encourage donor engagement and long-term investment in medical research and innovation.
The award is supported by investment manager Baillie Gifford, its patron is the Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Angus Deaton, and its illustrious judging panel is chaired by James Anderson, chair of Kinnevik.
James Anderson, chair of the Panmure House Prize judging panel, said: “Both academic economics and finance have lost their way. Of course, there are exceptions but, in general, we are in a mess. We shouldn't need a prize to stimulate academic thought about the combination of innovation and finance, but we do, and the panel was hugely impressed again this year by the quality of the shortlisted work and the academics responsible for it.
“All the studies on the shortlist merit further attention, so it was another difficult decision for the panel, but we felt that Dr Ganesh's work, with its direct link to Smith's own ideas about free markets, and its potential to make a serious difference to the process of innovation, was a worthy winner of this year's award.
“We also had the pleasure today of hearing from last year's winner, Professor Rachelle Sampson, who updated the audience at Panmure House with the results of her team's research in the year since she became our inaugural winner for work demonstrating that companies taking a long-term approach are more likely to produce breakthrough innovations.
“That lecture, and the report by Matteo Tranchero, who we recognised with an emergent thought award last year, validated our reasons for establishing this prize. We all have an interest in encouraging innovation, which is so crucial in sparking the solutions to many of the challenges the world faces today, so it has been a pleasure to hear from many of those who are doing such important thinking and work on this topic.”
Dr Ganesh's work contrasts the current funding paradigm for medical research and innovation with Adam Smith's transformative ideas about the free market. It notes there has been little growth in investment and that grant funding decisions are characterised by siloed information and outdated review processes that often reward hierarchical privilege over the merit of proposals. Ganesh's research seeks to analyse a new crowdfunding platform for peer reviews and test whether it can achieve better funding success rates than traditional agencies.
Dr Aravind Ganesh, assistant professor at the University of Calgary and winner of the 2022 Panmure House Prize, said: “I am thrilled to be named the 2022 Panmure House Prize winner. This tremendous honour will help drive our research on the real-world performance of our novel platform, Collavidence.com, for funding medical research that involves a precision approach to crowdfunding guided by an open, dynamic peer-review system.
“I dedicate this prize to my co-applicants Dr Mayank Goyal, Dr Aidan Hollis, Dr Rosalie McDonough, and Dr Johanna Ospel, as well as the rest of our team at Collavidence.com, without whom this project would be impossible. Thank you to the judges for your trust and acknowledgement of the importance of this potentially transformative work.”