Last weekend, the Center hosted our 5th annual Scaled-Up Seminar in Asheville. Scaled-Up Seminar gathers economics researchers from within driving distance of WCU to present current research and provide mutual feedback. This year, 27 researchers from 20 different institutions submitted 16 papers and gathered for 8 paper presentations/workshops. The interaction is designed to provide exposure to each other’s work, spark innovative discussions about policy and community impacts, and foster future collaborations on research and teaching.

Overall, Scaled-Up is building a network of researchers in the southeast, as participants have come to count on Scaled-Up as a hub for interacting with other scholars in the region.

It is great to be able to learn more about what my colleagues in the region are up to. The organization and networking opportunities are fantastic. Thanks a lot!

The seminar is such an amazing opportunity for active social science researchers in the region who work at places where opportunities to regularly present and learn about cutting edge research are rare. I would love to see this turn into a twice a year affair…

[M]ost importantly, Scaled-Up Seminar has fostered discussions that allow me to think about the next step in my research program, and to find collaborators at other universities in the region.

Participants also find the constructive atmosphere at Scaled-Up to be a big part of the experience.

It was always very helpful to bounce early-stage ideas off of talented researchers in a friendly setting. You cannot receive the same caliber of feedback at a normal academic conference because the time schedule is so condensed. Similarly, papers presented at department seminars are generally much further along in terms of their development. Scaled-Up found the happy medium between these two presentation models.

The wonderful thing about Scaled Up Seminar is the culture of informative feedback and camaraderie among fellow academics that has been cultivated over the past five years. I have attended the seminar in many different capacities (presenter, discussant, and participant), and each time I take something new away from it. Particularly in a post-Covid world where these opportunities for informal professional development are even more scarce, I can’t tell you how impactful this seminar is to my growth as a scholar.

SUS has such a constructive atmosphere. Participants genuinely want to help one another. I especially benefitted from Bradbury’s paper because it is very close to my own work, but all of the papers were stimulating. One of the ways I judge my benefit from attending conferences is whether I come home with new research ideas. By that metric, the conference was successful. Thank you for inviting me.

Finally, attendees have found Scaled-Up to be useful to their own work.

This seminar has become an essential venue for presenting my work and receiving high quality feedback. Papers that I have presented at previous years’ seminars are now in various stages of journal review and publication, incorporating the comments I received at WCU. This format has greatly helped me develop these works for publication.

The Scaled up Seminar created an opportunity to gather and discuss research in a setting that combines the diversity of an academic conference with the unhurried pace of a departmental research seminar. I took away a lot of great ideas for the paper I presented, and just earlier today I changed some of my teaching slides to reflect some of the things I learned at the Seminar.

I returned from the seminar on Sunday, and the very next time I met my classes we discussed two of the papers. That’s a pretty fast return on investment!