Jennifer Pazour, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering, has won a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation. She will use the five-year, $500,000 award to study “Distribution Resource Elasticity: A New Hierarchical Approach for On-Demand Distribution Platforms.”

The CAREER Award is given to faculty members near the beginning of their academic careers and is one of the most competitive awards given by the NSF to junior faculty. The award places emphasis on high-quality research as well as novel educational initiatives.

“Professor Pazour is a model teacher-scholar—her research has a wide range of societal impacts; she is a dedicated mentor of teams of undergraduate and graduate students; and she effectively communicates her research through blog, twitter, and YouTube videos,” said John Wen, head of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer. “We are excited that this award will amplify and propel Jennifer’s research and teaching to new heights.”

In her research, Pazour develops and uses analytical models to guide decision-making for supply chain and logistics challenges. Her research has made contributions to military logistics, distribution and transportation systems, health-care logistics, on-demand supply chains, and peer-to-peer resource sharing systems.

The CAREER grant will support research that addresses modern product and service distribution challenges, with a focus on novel methods to coordinate decentralized distribution resources through customized recommendations made to multiple suppliers simultaneously.

“These methods will improve the efficiency of the supply network by tapping into otherwise underutilized or idling supply capacity,” said Pazour. “By increasing capacity through more flexible use of suppliers, this approach can impact both commercial and non-commercial supply networks, improving e-commerce profitability and enabling a new on-demand volunteer base.”

As part of her research, Pazour will develop test cases in collaboration with community nonprofits and on-demand grocery delivery systems for mobility-restricted clients.

The CAREER award is the latest in a string of accolades that Pazour has garnered in her young career. In 2017, she was awarded the Dr. Hamed K. Eldin Outstanding Early Career IE in Academia Award, which recognizes those who have distinguished themselves through contributions to the welfare of mankind in the field of industrial engineering. She is the recipient of a National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program Early-Career Research Fellowship, a Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research, and a Research Start-up Grant from the Material Handling Institute.

Pazour is a member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences and the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, and serves on the board of directors of the Warehousing Education and Research Council. She earned her bachelor’s degree from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Arkansas, all in industrial engineering. Before joining Rensselaer in 2015, she was an assistant professor of industrial engineering and management systems at the University of Central Florida.