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About the Sorenson Impact Center
NOTE: Applicants should be University of Utah Students ONLY – Applicants from other universities will not be considered.
Recognized as a top-tier research institution, the Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) is committed to growing research excellence and innovation at the University of Utah. The VPR Office oversees 18 research administration units to support faculty, students, and staff within the research campus community. This includes research compliance, grant proposal development, education and training, environmental health and safety, and more. The VPR Office’s mission is to support the U’s national leading research community to find impactful discoveries and solutions for our local, national, and global communities.
The Sorenson Impact Center with the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah envisions a thriving world where all people are valued, communities prosper, and the measured impact of our actions guides decision making. The Center advances global impact through innovation in impact investing and finance, public policy and government spending, and corporate and social sector behavior with organizations across the globe, and utilizes world-class data science, impact storytelling and collaboration as key tools. As part of its mission to train future impact leaders, the Center integrates academic programming and experiential learning into each of its practice areas. To learn more about the Center and apply to the Student program, please visit https://sorensonimpactcenter.com/sorenson-students/student-program/
Background on Innovative Finance for Translational Research: Innovative Financing and the Outcomes-Based Financing Approaches
Innovative finance is a type of financial mechanism that provides new investment opportunities and innovations in financial models that align actors in new ways that utilizes each partner’s unique strengths, while also meeting their respective risk/return expectations and needs. Additionally, innovative finance includes approaches that bring new sources of capital to address social and environmental issues.
Outcomes-based financing (OBF) is a specific type of innovative financing model that leverages private investment as up-front working capital, the repayment (typically from government, but not always) of which depends on the program meeting desired predetermined outcomes. This transfers the financial risk of success or failure away from taxpayers or other public entities to private and philanthropic funders. These investors are motivated to provide capital to projects that focus on improving lives and communities and communities while simultaneously receiving a modest financial return. Outcomes-based financing incentivizes collaboration between government, service providers, and financial partners to problem-solve and innovate in real-time to achieve measurable results.
The Impact Finance team at the Sorenson Impact Center is seeking student applicants to join a new student cohort as analysts for an innovative finance and outcomes-based financing pilot project called Innovative Finance for Translational Research with the University of Utah. The cohort positions are tailored to students interested in social and environmental issues, research and public policy who will have the opportunity to work on a variety of unique and groundbreaking interventions and projects. In partnership with the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Sorenson Impact Center, the student cohort will analyze and identify faculty research programs and interventions best suited for public implementation.
Previous finance experience is NOT a requirement and we encourage applicants from throughout the University to consider this opportunity. Students accepted into the program will receive an unparalleled experience in the social impact space by completing due diligence of promising interventions and innovative approaches and will recommend projects for implementation. Throughout this process students will receive training in innovative financing structures, complete comprehensive due diligence, conduct feasibility assessments with the ultimate objective of implementing social and environmental impact projects in community settings.
The selection process will be service model and sector agnostic – students will analyze projects touching upon a variety of areas such as homelessness, addiction therapy, recidivism, criminal or civil law, environmental protection, public health and more during their tenure. Student interns will have the opportunity to engage with University and community stakeholders while building their skills and experience. We are looking for dedicated and enthusiastic individuals to join our team that thrive working in a fast-paced and collaborative environment.
- Issue area research including literature reviews and landscape scans
- Review proposals of innovative research and projects from University faculty
- Summarize research findings and draw meaningful conclusions
- Analyze outcome data and identify trends and gaps in research
- Assist in conducting quantitative and qualitative analysis to support project design
- Assist in identifying and estimating expected social and economic impacts of the potential projects
- Assist in conducting cost-benefit analysis of potential projects
- Develop relationships with University of Utah researchers and assist in connecting to potential funders and investors in the impact space
- Recommend University faculty developed projects for implementation within an innovative finance and/or outcomes-based financing framework
- Proven analytical skills, detail-oriented, proactive and self-motivated
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Strong research background
- Strong intellectual curiosity
- Proactive, strong work ethic, and willingness to learn
- Willingness to work in a fast-paced environment
- Ability to work with a team to complete projects on a timeline with ambiguous project guidelines
- Ability to communicate complex concepts and processes clearly
- Presentation skills
- Students must commit to working 20 hours per week for a minimum of two semesters
*The dynamic nature of work means the student experience becomes more valuable with deeper levels of engagement. To facilitate this experience, students are required to commit to working 20 hours per week for a minimum of two semesters (continuation beyond the first semester is dependent upon meeting the appropriate level of performance).
**The Sorenson Impact Center strongly encourages diverse applicants (please circulate widely), especially those who self-identify as Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, speak English as a second language, and others from overlooked / underestimated communities.
*** Due to legal restrictions regarding student employment under certain Visa statuses, Sorenson Impact can not guarantee our ability to pay international students. For international students potentially selected, we commit to working with you and your institution to determine our ability to adequately compensate you for your time and energy. Please reach out with any questions.Impact can not guarantee our ability to pay international students. For international students potentially selected, we commit to working with you and your institution to determine our ability to adequately compensate you for your time and energy. Please reach out with any questions.