Omar Asensio, assistant professor in the School of Public Policy, has been named recipient of a 2020 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, a prestigious recognition honoring top junior faculty. The award, given as part of the NSF's Faculty Early Career Development Program, recognizes faculty "who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization."
Kaye Husbands Fealing, dean of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and former chair in Public Policy, lauded Asensio’s work.
“Omar is engaged in leading-edge research,” Husbands Fealing said. “He brings the perspectives of an engineer, economist, and social scientist to the field of civic data, revealing important truths and demonstrating the importance of cross-disciplinary research that is a hallmark of the Ivan Allen College.”
The $599,964 award, which covers a period of five years, will go towards Asensio's project "Behavioral Analytics and Field Experiments in Sustainable Innovation Policies." The project will study the application of big data availability and use to resource conservation policies.
"Buildings and transportation are important sectors of the economy; therefore, this research calls on human and machine intelligence to advance research on how large-scale civic data in combination with behavioral strategies can be used to increase resource conservation, while providing aggregate intelligence about infrastructure and localized impacts in near real time," Asensio's abstract states.
Asensio's research bridges data and behavioral sciences and seeks to mobilize citizens across a wide range of ages and those in under-represented communities. He has also integrated machine learning and artificial intelligence processes into his policy studies.
Asensio's projects have included studying consumer behavior in electric vehicle charging, using data gathered from mobile apps to analyze consumer preferences and see how policies can affect sustainability behavior. He has also used data analytics and field experiments to study housing and resource conservation issues in Albany, Georgia.
This award is the latest of many that Asensio has accrued in his career. In 2018, he was awarded a 40-for-40 Fellowship by the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) for early career contributions to the field of public policy. Prior to that, Asensio received a Research Impact on Practice Award (RIPA) by the Academy of Management Organizations and the Natural Environment (ONE) Division. Asensio has also earned a spot in the Class of 1969 Teaching Fellows Program.
The School of Public Policy is a unit of Georgia Tech's Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.