First winners of Baillie Gifford-backed Panmure House Prize into breakthrough innovation announced
- The $75,000 Prize recognises research that will lead to increased flows of capital to innovation - in hope of finding the next Tesla, Amazon or pharma star
- An extraordinary $25,000 prize was also awarded to an outstanding PhD candidate as the Prize panel made eleventh-hour decision to reward innovative proposal
- The Prize panel is led by James Anderson, partner at Baillie Gifford, and includes Sir John Kay, former dean of Oxford’s Said Business School; Nitin Nohria, 10th dean of Harvard Business School; and Dominic Barton, global managing partner emeritus at McKinsey & Co and Canadian ambassador to China
Edinburgh, UK. 16 August 2021. One of the UK’s largest academic prizes – the Panmure House Prize - has been awarded to US-based researchers leading pioneering work into how long-term breakthroughs occur following assessment by a senior panel of international business leaders and economists.
The prize, which is administered by Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University in partnership with US-based long-term investment consultancy FCLTGlobal and funded by Baillie Gifford, is named after the eighteenth-century Scottish economist Adam Smith’s final Edinburgh home. It will award $375,000 over five years for research projects into the long-term funding of innovation in the spirit of Smith.
The judging panel – which was chaired by James Anderson, partner at Baillie Gifford, early backers of companies including Tesla, Tencent and Amazon - was keen to recognise research that will lead to actionable innovation in industry. They hope the research could help solve burning questions including health and social inequality, climate change and sustainability.
This year’s inaugural prize was awarded to a team based at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, led by Professor Rachelle C. Sampson.
Looking at US patents between 1980 and 2017, their project aims to demonstrate that long-term-oriented firms – supported by by government-funded R&D, stronger scientific orientation, a more centralised organisation and greater investment– are more likely to produce breakthrough innovations such as Dupont’s nylon or AT&T Bell Labs’ transistor.
In an eleventh-hour decision, the judging panel also decided to award an extraordinary Emergent Thought Award of $25,000 to Matteo Tranchero, a PhD candidate based at University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
Tranchero’s work aims to understand how investment figures in the ecosystems where breakthrough innovations occur. His work will focus on an optimum ecosystem of the US pharmaceutical industry, where production of the Moderna, BioNTech-Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines was among the most responsive globally.
James Anderson, partner at Baillie Gifford and chair of the Panmure House Prize panel, said:
“Prizes have long proven to be wonderful catalysts for change but the link between Panmure House and the extraordinary heritage and global reputation of Adam Smith gives us an almost unparalleled opportunity.
“Finance and academic economics have generally taken the wrong path in recent decades. But both now have the possibility of breaking out from the dead hand of unrealistic theories.
“The prize is an opportunity to attract the highest calibre of applicants to achieve that goal and I can’t imagine not wanting to be involved. The chance to hear from remarkable individuals, spanning the best of investment practice and profound intellectual insights and to hear them discuss the issues and papers together is a huge privilege.
“I congratulate Professor Rachelle Sampson and Matteo Tranchero on their outstanding proposals and wish them the best of luck as they undertake their research.”
Professor Rachelle C. Sampson, recipient of the Panmure House Prize said:
“I’m delighted to win the inaugural Panmure House Prize.
“This prize will support research that will help shed light on the critical importance of long-term investment horizons for the breakthrough innovation necessary to solve some of our most pressing challenges.
“It’s truly an honour to be connected with Panmure House, home of Adam Smith and a gathering place of many luminaries of the Scottish Enlightenment. I’m grateful to the esteemed panel of judges and Panmure House for the opportunity to accelerate this research and bring it into the public eye.”
Matteo Tranchero, recipient of the Panmure House Emergent Thought Prize said:
“I am humbled that my research has been recognised by such an illustrious panel and I can’t get wait to get started.
“My theory is that transformative change is quite like losing your keys at night. We tend to start looking in the areas we are comfortable with – in the lamp light – even though we quickly see the keys aren’t there and we might make slower progress. Looking in the dark areas is a greater risk but promises greater rewards and – like firms – it’s there that innovation needs support to thrive.
“I hope my research will show that funding could pivot towards rewarding failure, rather than success, as a means of unlocking more breakthrough innovation.”
Professor Heather McGregor, Executive Dean of Edinburgh Business School said:
“We have founded this Prize in the spirit of Adam Smith to help bridge the gap between academic theory and its practical application in business. We believe that long-term investment is a prerequisite of truly radical innovation, and our mission at Panmure House is to engage in research that promotes the creation and maintenance of sustainable capital to this end.
“My congratulations to our winners – their research will become part of a grand tradition stretching all the way back to the height of the Scottish Enlightenment, when Smith himself was resident at Panmure House.”
Notes to editors
About Panmure House
Panmure House, located In Canongate, Edinburgh, is the final remaining home of Adam Smith, philosopher and 'father of modern economics.'
Originally built in 1691, Smith occupied the House between 1778 and 1790, during which time he completed the final editions of his master works: The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations. Other great luminaries and thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment visited Smith regularly at the House across this period.
In 2008, Edinburgh Business School & Heriot-Watt University undertook to rescue this historic building from dereliction. Following a 10-year, £5.6m renovation, Panmure was formally opened in November 2018.
Our mission is to provide a world-class 21st-century centre for social and economic debate and research, convening in the name of Adam Smith to effect positive change and forge global, future-focussed networks.
This is in service of our vision: a world in which businesses and governments serve the long-term common good; where policies and public discourse are inclusive, well-reasoned and founded on research.
About the Panmure House Prize
The Panmure House Prize is an award of $75,000 each year over the next five years ($375k total) to emerging leaders in academia who are planning to produce outstanding research on the topic of the long-term funding of innovation in the spirit of Adam Smith, the eighteenth-century Scottish economist and philosopher.
A separate Emergent Thought Award is an extraordinary award of $25,000 each year over the next five years ($125k total) judged on the same criteria.
Applications were sought from anybody affiliated with an academic institution around the world with a particular emphasis on early career researchers.
The Panmure House Prize Panel will judge submissions alongside Panmure House staff and FCLTGlobal – a US-based non-profit with the mission of rebalancing capital markets to support a long-term, sustainable economy – who will be the Research Partner for the Prize. The prize has been generously funded by Baillie Gifford.
The full list of judges is:
- James Anderson, Panmure Prize Panel Chair, Partner and Co-manager Scottish Mortgage and Vanguard International Growth Fund at Baillie Gifford
- Dominic Barton, Ambassador of Canada to China, Chancellor of the University of Waterloo, Global Managing Partner Emeritus of McKinsey & Company
- Afsaneh Beschloss, Founder & CEO of RockCreek
- William Janeway, CBE, PhD, Member of Faculty of Economics at University of Cambridge and Special Limited Partner, Warburg Pincus
- John Kay, CBE, FRSE, FBA, FAcSS, former Dean of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, a Fellow of St John's College, Oxford, a Fellow of the British Academy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
- Heather McGregor, CBE, PhD, Executive Dean of Edinburgh Business School, the School of Business at Heriot Watt University
- Hiro Mizuno, UN Special Envoy on Innovative Finance and Sustainable Investments and former CIO of Government Pension Investment Fund (Japan)
- Renosi Mokate, PhD, Executive Chair at Concentric Alliance (Pty) Ltd, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Government Employees Pension Fund (South Africa), Member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (South Africa)
- Nitin Nohria, PhD, 10th Dean of Harvard Business School
- Adrian Orr, Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand
- David Pitt-Watson, Fellow of Cambridge Judge Business School, Co-founder Hermes Focus Funds/EOS, Former Chair UN Environment Finance Initiative
- David Teece, PhD, Thomas W. Tush Professor in Global Business, Faculty Director, Tusher Center for The Management of Intellectual Capital at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley
- Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, FICRS, FNIMN, MCIBS, a member of the S&P Global Sustainable Finance Scientific Council, and Head of Sustainability at Access Bank Group
- Sarah Keohane Williamson, CAIA, CFA, CEO of FCLTGlobal
About the winners
Rachelle C. Sampson is an Associate Professor (with tenure) at the University of Maryland, Smith School of Business. A graduate of Queensland University of Technology and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where she earned her PhD, Sampson has spent her career investigating efficiencies and relationships within and between the private and public sectors, investor time horizons and R&D. Prior to joining Maryland, she was Senior Policy Scholar and Visiting Associate Professor at the Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business and Assistant Professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business. She is a regulator media commentator on corporate issues and has contributed to McKinsey Quarterly, the Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg and Vox.
Matteo Tranchero is a PhD candidate in Management of Organisations at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. His dissertation will be convened by Lee Fleming, Abhishek Nagaraj, Toby Stuart, and Enrico Moretti. He has spoken and published widely on innovation topics including in Research Policy. His prior education includes a BSc and a MSc in Economics from the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and the University of Pisa, as well as visiting periods at the École Normale Supérieure and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
For more information
+44 7912 483423
Interviews, video and photography available on request