Kauffman Emerging Scholars Initiative

Every two weeks I will be posting a blog on Kauffman Emerging Scholars. This will range from literature reviews on recent research by current and former Emerging Scholars, such as my blog last week, to profiles on the scholars, trends on research studies by the scholars over time, and demographic trends on the scholars over time.

Before I dive any deeper into the research, this post will just be used to explain what the Kauffman Emerging Scholars initiative is. Emerging Scholars has been an initiative of the Kauffman Foundation since 2003, with the goal of building a body of respected entrepreneurship research and making entrepreneurship a highly regarded academic field.

The Emerging Scholars initiative awards academic fellowships to several young scholars each year to assist in their efforts to earn their Ph.D., encourage early-career entrepreneurship research, and recognize outstanding research in entrepreneurship.

Within the Emerging Scholars initiative, we have established three programs that provide support and recognition to each career level of academic professionals.


  1. Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship Program (KDFP)
  2. Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellowship (KJFF)
  3. Kauffman Prize Medal

The Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship is awarded to 15 doctoral students at U.S. universities each year to support dissertations in the area of entrepreneurship. Since 2003, 180 dissertation fellows from top-tier universities have gone on to do ground-breaking entrepreneurship research, which has advanced the field for application by policy makers, educators, service providers, and entrepreneurs.

Last month, we honored our newest cohort of KDFP scholars at the American Economic Association’s (AEA) annual meeting in Boston. To welcome the new group to the Emerging Scholars family, we held a mentoring workshop, where former Emerging Scholars and leading academics in the field provided insight and advice to help the young scholars prepare for their academic careers.

The Kaufman Junior Faculty Fellowship is awarded to 7 tenured or tenure-track junior faculty members at U.S. universities who are beginning to establish a record of scholarship and exhibit potential to make significant contributions to the body of entrepreneurship research. Our 2015 KJFF scholars will be announced later this summer in Vancouver, Canada at the Academy of Management annual conference.

The Kauffman Prize Medal was established in 2005 to inspire promising young scholars to contribute new insight into the field of entrepreneurship. The Medal is awarded annually to one scholar under the age of 40 whose research has made a significant contribution to the literature in entrepreneurship. This year’s winner was also announced at AEA—Ramana Nanda, former 2010 Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellow and 2006 Kauffman Dissertation Fellow (the first individual to receive all 3 awards).

Over the past 12 years, we’ve had over 1200 applications for KDFP, and have awarded 180 dissertation fellowships. In the 5 years that Kauffman has sponsored KJFF, we have received 235 applications and have awarded 31 junior faculty fellowships. Of those 31, 12 recipients were former Kauffman Dissertation Fellows. Since 2005, we have celebrated 8 Kauffman Prize Medals—an award that was originally intended to be given every other year has become an annual award, since the pool of excellent academics in the field of entrepreneurship under 40 has increased since the initiative first started.

Keep up with this series to follow the new research to come from these impressive Emerging Scholars, and to follow my own research on the trends in entrepreneurial studies since the beginning of the initiative.

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