Five UChicago scholars receive 2015 Sloan Research Fellowships


The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded five UChicago faculty members 2015 Sloan Research Fellowships: Eric Budish, associate professor of economics at Chicago Booth; Jian Ding, assistant professor in statistics; Magne Mogstad, assistant professor in economics; Stephanie Palmer, assistant professor in organismal biology & anatomy; and Tiffany Shaw, assistant professor in geophysical sciences.

This year’s 126 Sloan Fellows come from 57 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. The fellowships honor early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars: the next generation of scientific leaders. Fellows received $50,000 to further their research.


Eric Budish, associate professor of economics and Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, is a micro-economist and game theorist who researches market design. In his paper, “The High-Frequency Trading Arms Race: Frequent Batch Auctions as a Market Design Response,” Budish and his co-authors wrote that the high-frequency arms race is best understood as a symptom of a simple flaw in market design, and proposed an alternative market design that addresses the flaw. The paper received the 2014 AQR Insight Award.

Budish also received the Kauffman/iHEA Award for Health Care Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research for his paper, “Do Firms Underinvest in Long-Term Research? Evidence from Cancer Clinical Trials.” His dissertation research on the matching problem of assigning students to schedules of courses, or workers to schedules of shifts, was adopted for use in practice by the Wharton School for MBA course allocation. Budish received his PhD from Harvard University.


Jian Ding, assistant professor in statistics, specializes in probability theory. He aims to understand mathematical structures for stochastic processes that arise naturally in statistical physics, as well as combinatorial optimization. Two main directions of his research concern solution space of random satisfaction problems, as well as geometry of level sets for Gaussian processes. He is interested in applying probability theory to problems in areas such as social networks, machine learning and biological evolution.

Jian obtained his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011. He spent a year at Stanford University as a Szegö Assistant Professor before joining the UChicago faculty. He also has received a National Science Foundation Career Award for 2015-20.


Magne Mogstad, assistant professor in economics, focuses on applied microeconomics, mostly in the areas of labor economics and public economics. He is an associate editor of the Economic Journal and the principal investigator of a major research grant that is studying the causes and consequences of the rise in disability insurance receipt. 

Mogstad graduated with a PhD in economics from the University of Oslo, and in 2011 he received the Sandmo Prize, which is awarded annually to an especially promising Norwegian economist under the age of 40. Before coming to UChicago, he taught economics at the University College of London between 2011 and 2013.


Stephanie Palmer, assistant professor of organismal biology and anatomy, studies how the brain performs the complex task of prediction. Using the visual system, she focuses on how information is encoded and processed by groups of neurons to allow for prediction. Her work has shown that simple neural computations are already performed before information leaves the eye, and she is now investigating how this affects higher-order regions of the brain.

Palmer earned a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Oxford, Balliol College, as a Rhodes Scholar, and currently serves on the organizing committee for the annual Computational and Systems Neuroscience meeting. She runs Brains!, a program which gives local public school students an opportunity to perform hands-on neuroscience experiments at her lab with guidance from University of Chicago graduate student teaching assistants.


Tiffany Shaw, assistant professor in geophysical sciences, specializes in the physics of weather and climate. She uses fundamental principles from classical mechanics to develop reduced and accurate theories that provide a basis for understanding large-scale aspects of observed weather and climate, as well as their past and future changes. A major question driving her research is how moisture is transported and how it interacts with large-scale flow patterns.

Shaw obtained her PhD from the University of Toronto in 2009. She spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and three years as an assistant professor at Columbia University before joining the UChicago faculty. She also has received a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering and a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.

Awarded in eight scientific and technical fields—chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics—the Sloan Research Fellowship Program runs in close cooperation with the scientific community. Candidates must be nominated by their fellow scientists, and winning fellows are selected by an independent panel of senior scholars on the basis of a candidate’s independent research accomplishments, creativity and potential to become a leader in his or her field.