Cornell Brooks School professors Sarah Kreps, Pauline Leung, and Zhuan Pei (left to right)

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First JFI-Brooks Fellowships fund studies of government anti-poverty programs and AI policy

As recipients of the first JFI-Brooks Fellowships, Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy scholars will research regulatory frameworks for artificial intelligence and the long-term impact of welfare reform-era policy changes on recipients and their children.

The fellowships are made possible by support from a unique collaboration with the Jain Family Institute (JFI), founded by Bobby ’92 and Carola Jain. “JFI is a perfect partner for the Brooks School as JFI is literally an applied research organization, and we are thrilled to create opportunities for Brooks students and faculty to help apply their work,” said Bobby Jain.

The JFI-Brooks Fellowships provide two-year funding for Brooks School faculty-student teams to advance research and public engagement on policy questions related to climate change, education, social policy, and digital ethics.

“We are deeply grateful for JFI’s support of this important research,” said Brooks School Dean Colleen Barry. “These fellowships are supporting research that can improve people’s lives and give our students opportunities to work directly with faculty on policy problems to improve their research skills.”

The brisk search for solutions is a hallmark of both Brooks School and JFI, a nonprofit research organization dedicated to addressing pressing social issues with what it describes as “high impact interventions.”

“JFI began its work nine years ago with the commitment not only to research innovative ideas in public policy, but also to help accelerate the speed with which they impact daily life,” said JFI Chief Operating Officer Alex Jacobs. “We’re delighted to be partnering with a like-minded institution in the Brooks School, and even more so to be supporting these innovative groups of scholars.”

The first awards go to two research teams:

  • Sarah Kreps and Adi Rao will study existing and proposed regulatory schemes governing artificial intelligence in order to develop a new theoretical roadmap for U.S. policymakers as they grapple with the promises and potential perils of generative AI. Kreps is the John L. Wetherill Professor in the Department of Government in the College of Arts & Sciences (A&S), director of the Brooks School Tech Policy Institute and a professor in the Brooks School. Rao is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Government and an adjunct at the RAND Corporation.
  • Pauline Leung, Zhuan Pei, and Lexin Cai are part of a team that studies the impact of the welfare-to-work policies from the early 1990s on U.S. welfare program participants and their children. Though many of these policies were eventually adopted as part of the 1996 welfare reform, little is known about their long-term impacts. The team will explore how these policies affected a wide range of long-term outcomes including children's future earnings and employment, residential location, and mortality. The study seeks to identify the most effective policy levers for improving the wellbeing of disadvantaged families and children. Leung is an assistant professor in the Brooks School and the Department of Economics. Pei is an associate professor in the Brooks School and the Department of Economics. Cai is a Department of Economics graduate student.

The JFI-Brooks partnership extends beyond funding the fellowships. The research teams will have access to JFI resources including data, connections with JFI researchers, collaboration on JFI projects, and opportunities to work in JFI’s offices in New York City.

About Bobby and Carola Jain, and the Jain Family Institute:

Bobby Jain’s Cornell education, as a government major and Cornell in Washington participant, has inspired a continuing desire to improve public policy to help people lead better lives. Bobby has been in the financial services industry for the past 30 years in a variety of senior roles, and sits on various philanthropic and industry bodies.

Bobby founded the Jain Family Institute (JFI) in 2014 with the goal of catalyzing real-world implementation of promising new policy ideas. Its major past projects have been in the areas of higher education finance, guaranteed income, and AI ethics. Today, JFI works at all levels – and with a variety of public and private sector partners – to realize solutions to social problems, including pilot and policy design, modeling and analytics, empirical research evaluations, custom software, and incubation and operationalization of like-minded social-impact organizations.

Carola Jain is the co-founder and CEO of DMINTI, a pioneering organization that partners with the world’s leading contemporary and emerging artists to curate, produce, and position impactful digital art and Web3 experiences. Prior to her current board position at Spartan, the Global Extreme Wellness brand, Carola was the Global CMO overseeing all aspects of Spartan’s marketing and brand strategy. Carola spent over 16 years at Interbrand as Senior Director of Brand Strategy and Analytics, where she led the financial services and non-profit practice. In addition to being a founding board member for JFI, Carola currently serves on the Peggy Guggenheim Advisory Board and on the Acquisition Committee of Contemporary Art at the Centre Pompidou as well as being a member of the Dean’s Council at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

At Cornell, Bobby Jain is a member of the Board of Trustees, while Carola serves on the College of Arts & Sciences Advisory Council. The family sponsors the Robert Jain Faculty Renewal Professor in the College of Arts & Sciences and established the Jain Cornell Promise Scholarship through a $1 million gift to the College of Arts & Sciences.

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