Economics and Finance Professors Receive $45K Grant from CME

News Story: February 1, 2012

A $45,000 grant awarded by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group Foundation will allow Sacred Heart University Economics and Finance professors to carry out advanced research designed to help financial market participants better understand financial futures behavior and, in turn, better manage financial risks.

Receipt of this competitive award recognizes the University’s “scholarly strengths and research accomplishments,” said Economics and Finance Chair, Professor Lucjan T. Orlowski, Ph.D., who along with assistant professors Abu S. Amin, Ph.D., and Kwamie Dunbar, Ph.D., will lead two projects funded by the grant.

Specializing in research that concentrates on international financial markets, monetary policy regimes and their impact on macroeconomic and financial stability, Dr. Orlowski will conduct a study that examines stock and bond market volatility. Drs. Amin and Dunbar will co-lead a study that examines the volatility of short-term interest rates.

Based in Chicago, the CME Group Foundation funds academic institutions to conduct research on various aspects of financial markets and develop innovative programs in finance and risk management. Results of Sacred Heart’s studies will provide finance professionals worldwide with not just a clearer understanding of market volatility, but the insight needed to more effectively forecast financial futures and establish risk management practices.

Leading-edge analytical methodology and forecasting techniques will be used to carry out both studies, along with unique—and essential—proprietary financial data provided by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Dr. Orlowski said.

The grant also supports two student assistants. Taking on these positions are Brian Benson, a senior double majoring in sports management and business administration, and Bryan Harmon, a junior double majoring in finance and economics. Both are also participants in the University’s selective John F. Welch Scholars Program.

“Bryan and Brian are excellent students who have gained advanced technical knowledge and research skills at SHU. They are already participating in our brainstorming meetings and, as work on the projects increases, will work with data along with modeling and writing efforts,” said Dr. Orlowski.

Outcomes of the studies will be presented at one international and two domestic financial seminars. The U.S. seminars will take place in New York City and Chicago in the spring and fall, organized by the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and CME and geared toward financial professionals. The international seminar will take place in May in Luxembourg, organized by the SHU Department of Economics and Finance in cooperation with the Luxembourg MBA Program.

Virginia Harris, Ph.D., Sacred Heart’s executive director of Foundation and Grants, helped Dr. Orlowski complete the grant application.

“I’m grateful for all her help and so honored and excited about this research opportunity,” Dr. Orlowski added.