Launched in 2010 as a strategic unit of the Fermanian School of Business, the Fermanian Business and Economic Institute (FBEI) specializes in a variety of research and consulting services for individuals, firms, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Lead by Fermanian School of Business Professor and Chief Economist, Dr. Lynn Reaser, FBEI represents the academic standards of the University and has a reputation for proven and defensible methodologies. Throughout FBEI’s existence, both PLNU undergraduate and MBA students have contributed as research assistants, while PLNU MBA graduates have worked as staff and consultants.
One of Dr. Reaser’s first projects at FBEI was an economic impact study for the San Diego Zoo on the field of bioinspiration. Bioinspiration (also known as biomimicry, biomimetics, bionics, and other like terms) is the discipline that translates ideas or concepts found or inspired by nature into products or solutions for practical or commercial application. The San Diego Zoo Global study found that bioinspiration holds the potential to become an economic game-changing technology based on the progress made in bringing the efficiencies and self-sustaining qualities found in nature to the needs of humankind.
Realizing a strong need for more awareness of this field, FBEI developed the Da Vinci Index™ in 2011 to measure and track bioinspiration activity in the U.S. In 2014, FBEI released the Da Vinci Global Index™, which monitored and quantified bioinspiration activity throughout the world. Both the Da Vinci Index™ and the Da Vinci Global Index™ provided the first formal measurements of the bioinspiration field and have since become internationally respected and valuable indicators of the growth in this new sector.
FBEI’s unique expertise on the economic impact of bioinspiration most recently led to an opportunity to explore the development of a specific Da Vinci Index for China. For three days in September 2018, China’s principal leaders in this development effort hosted Dr. Reaser and FBEI’s Assistant Director, Thomas Hale, to discuss the details of a consulting agreement with FBEI. Discussions took place at the Key Laboratory of Bionic Engineering at Jilin University in Changchun City, China. This followed a visit by a delegation from Jilin University to PLNU last December, which involved meetings with FBEI and representatives of PLNU’s chemistry, biology, and physics departments.
FBEI’s visit to Jilin University provided both universities with multiple opportunities to share their respective knowledge and identify cooperation objectives.