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Center for Transportation & Logistics
Sloan School of Management
Home    Research     Overview

Principles of the ISCM Research Agenda

The ISCM Program brings fresh and useful supply chain findings to the ISCM sponsors through the research agenda. Specifically, the Program brings thse findings to the sponsors by:


'Harvesting' supply chain research across MIT.

Identifying and bringing relevant research at MIT to the sponsors in research colloquiua, quarterly collaboration and exchange meetings, and through electronic distribution of supply chain research content. In this way, ISCM sponsors benefit from the broad supply chain research activities at MIT.

  Creating new learnings through ISCM-funded supply chain research in several ways:
a. Sole funding - these are projects where ISCM is the sole funding group, providing a higher level of direction to the work.
b. Pooled funding - these are projects where ISCM pools its funding with other groups on a research project, providing high leverage of ISCM funds to derive learnings.
c. Seed funding - these are projects where ISCM provides researchers with seed funding for promising new research initiatives.

Additionally, individual sponsors can benefit from other MIT research through invitations to participate in various non-ISCM research activities.

Making Research Investments

The ISCM agenda ultimately is a portfolio of projects that have different structure, focus and time horizon. As noted above, projects can be solely funded by ISCM or ISCM can pool funds with other supporters. Also, ISCM can make seed funding investments in new research projects.

In many ways, the ISCM Program serves as a venture capital organization for researchers with new ideas that need funding and support. By providing seed funding to researchers, ISCM helps researchers get started on promising research initiatives, and secures preferential treatment by the researcher for having provided .


The Research Team

Funded research is conducted by a broad set of faculty and researchers from the Center of Transportation and Logistics, as well as researchers from across the Institute. ISCM is not limited to working with researchers from MIT, and ISCM has developed working relationships with researchers from other leading institutions, leveraging our respective assets and capabilities. We expect to continue and expand this type of collaboration to provide our sponsors with the highest impact research.


P.S. Is research the same as consulting?

You may be wondering - "What is research and how does it differ from consulting?"

Good question, the difference is not well-understood. In simplest terms, research entails creating new knowledge to unsolved problems. Consulting typically entails applying known solutions and approaches to problems, perhaps reapplying solutions from one industry to another as an example, or from one company situation to similar situations in other companies.

Research projects follow a rigorous methodology to establish validity of findings. Typically, projects start with an assessment of the current state of knowledge in the public domain, often called a 'Literature Review'. Additional steps often include development of a hypothesis, a taxonomy, data collection, analysis and testing of hypothesis. Within the academic environment and using MIT resources, this typically requires a minimum of 9-12 months for each project, often longer dependent upon the scope and depth of the project.



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Comments and questions to James B. Rice, Jr.