New York University: Two NYU Faculty Win Sloan Foundation Research Fellowships

Two NYU faculty have been awarded fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: Elena Manresa in the Department of Economics and David Schneider in the Center for Neural Science.

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Two New York University faculty have been awarded fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: Elena Manresa, an assistant professor in the Department of Economics, and David Schneider, an assistant professor in the Center for Neural Science.

The fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars “whose creativity, leadership, and independent research achievements make them some of the most promising researchers working today,” the Sloan Foundation said in announcing this year’s 128 fellows.

A full list of the 2021 Fellows is available at the Sloan Foundation website.

“A Sloan Research Fellow is a rising star, plain and simple” says Adam F. Falk, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “To receive a Fellowship is to be told by the scientific community that your achievements as a young scholar are already driving the research frontier.”

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Elena Manresa’s work revolves around the observation that economic data shows a great deal of heterogeneity—both observable and unobservable. A prominent example is that workers in the same occupation often receive different salaries despite similar educational attainments and a similar number of years of experience. Manresa explores the usefulness of machine learning and artificial intelligence methods to incorporate heterogeneity in econometrics. Her methodologies have proven useful in a variety of contexts, such as in the study of the origins of wage inequality, the quantification of research and development spillovers among firms, and the rationalization of the savings patterns among seniors in the U.S.

David Schneider studies how the brain makes predictions about the future, focusing on one simple question: How does the brain learn to anticipate the sounds of one’s own actions? His lab uses augmented reality to teach mice that simple behaviors, such as pushing a lever, produce simple sounds, such as beeps. They then monitor and manipulate activity in the brain as mice perform these behaviors and hear unexpected sounds. To help bridge the gap between what happens in the lab and what happens in the wild, his lab also studies the brain’s prediction making machinery during natural sound-generating behaviors such as vocalizing and walking.

Since the first Sloan Research Fellowships were awarded in 1955, 81 faculty from NYU have received a Sloan Research Fellowship.

Overall, 51 Sloan fellows have received a Nobel Prize in their respective fields, 17 have won the Fields Medal in mathematics, 69 have received the National Medal of Science, and 20 have won the John Bates Clark Medal in economics, including every winner since 2007. A database of former Sloan Research Fellows can be found on the foundation’s website.

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