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A Financing Framework for Better, Faster, and Affordable Business Decisions


Professor Qianru Qi headshot

Qianru Qi was recently hired as an assistant professor of finance at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa. She completed her PhD at Purdue University and then pursued a research career at Fudan, New York, and Duke universities. We interviewed her to learn more about her interests in finance and innovation research.

Why did you choose to conduct research?

While I was earning a master’s degree in Germany, I received a research assistantship from Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the largest German research institute of applied sciences. I worked on designing a visualization software that compares different diamond-cutting strategies virtually. The original software needed 14 hours to visualize a one-carat diamond. This was 15 years ago, and the computers were not very powerful. To address that issue, I developed a new algorithm that reduced the time to 10 minutes. I saw the real power of innovation and was driven by this excitement, constantly looking for innovative solutions that can dramatically change the status quo and address challenging issues in society.

Can you discuss a highlight from your work that you are particularly excited about?

As cancer treatment becomes more targeted and personalized, drug prices are becoming unaffordable. Some cancer drugs now cost up to a million dollars and as they become even more expensive, cancer patients will face a hard choice between “better treatment” and “better livelihood”. An alternative is to develop medical innovations that can prevent cancer. One good example is liquid biopsy, a blood sampling technique. Patients would only need to provide a blood sample to their physician once a year to permit early detection and removal of the cancer without severe consequences. One barrier to liquid biopsy research is that scientists need to track healthy people for many years; it is currently costing the US government $1.5 billion to establish a dataset. My collaborators and I have found a solution that reduces this cost by 99%.

What are you currently working on and how can it influence businesses in Canada?

Having developed a financing framework that significantly reduces research costs for liquid biopsies, my collaborators and I plan on implementing this financing framework to similar studies in Canada. My current research on fintech [financial IT] aims to make artificial intelligence more accessible. Specifically, we all know that big data analysis and artificial intelligence can help firms make better business decisions, but such services are not affordable for small business owners. The goal is to develop easy-to-use business and finance-specific artificial intelligence tools that will provide the resources necessary for entrepreneurs to fully understand the competitive landscape as they create small businesses, allow regulators to quickly identify issues to help prevent the next financial crisis, and enable researchers to develop and test theories to transform Canada’s business practices.

About the Author

Rania Nasrallah a rejoint le bureau de recherche Telfer en 2019. Elle a obtenu son doctorat en médecine à l'Université d'Ottawa et apporte à ce rôle plus de deux décennies d'expérience en recherche. Rania participe à tous les aspects du mandat du Bureau de la recherche et est responsable de fournir un large éventail de services aux membres du corps professoral et aux étudiants de recherche de deuxième et troisième cycle. Elle gère les subventions internes et les bourses d'études, et participe à la stratégie de communication de la recherche. Elle fournit également un soutien aux chercheurs avant l'attribution des subventions afin de maximiser le succès du financement au niveau national et international. En outre, elle travaille en étroite collaboration avec le Vice-doyen à la recherche pour élaborer et mettre en œuvre des stratégies visant à améliorer le financement et la vélocité de la recherche à Telfer, conformément à notre vision pour créer un meilleur Canada et un meilleur monde pour tous.<br/><br/>Rania Nasrallah joined the Telfer Research Office in 2019. She completed her PhD in Medicine at the University of Ottawa and brings over two decades of research experience to this role. Rania is involved in all aspects of the mandate of the Research Office and is responsible for providing a wide range of services to faculty members and research based graduate students. She manages internal grants, student awards, and participates in the research communication strategy. She also provides pre-award support to researchers to optimize funding success nationally and internationally. In addition she works closely with the Vice Dean Research to develop and implement strategies to enhance research funding and intensity at Telfer following our vision to create a better Canada and a better world for all.

Profile Photo of Rania Nasrallah