Support of Research

Tsai Center Grants

The Tsai Center is pleased to support the research endeavours of SMU Dedman School of Law faculty in the areas of law, science and innovation. 

Faculty Projects 

The Tsai Center supports the ongoing projects of various professors at the law school. This year, the Tsai Center will sponsor the following SMU Dedman Law professors and projects at the intersection of law, science and innovation.

Christopher Jenks, Director of the Criminal Justice Clinic and Assistant Professor of Law, will collaborate with members of the Global Security Initiative to engage in research related to the process by which learning weapons systems are reviewed for compliance with the law of armed conflict. This research will involve meeting with current members of the Defense Science Board, which developed the U.S. Department of Defense’s policy on autonomous weapons, as well as current and former Department of Defense staff who have prepared weapons reviews.

Jeffrey Kahn, Professor of Law, will welcome to the law school two legal experts whose scholarship, like Professor Kahn’s, has focused on database technology, liberty and privacy. There have been several recent proposals to expand use of federal watchlisting operations beyond criminal justice applications to include border control, domestic travel, national security and other issues. Moreover, private sector industries have begun using comprehensive databases and screening technologies, including predictive technologies. Both trends raise important questions about privacy, state action and information integrity. In January 2017, Professor Kahn will join these legal experts on a panel to discuss how the law has failed to keep pace with these technological developments.

Joseph J. Norton, James L. Walsh Distinguished Faculty Fellow and Professor in Financial Institutions Law and Marc I. Steinberg, Rupert and Lillian Radford Professor of Law, will host Innovations in International Banking and Finance on May 5, 2017. A significant portion of this international conference will address financial technology (FinTech), which refers to technology enabled financial solutions that link financial services with information technology.

The latest evolution of FinTech, led by start-ups but closely followed by large financial institutions, poses significant challenges for regulators and market participants alike, particularly in balancing the potential benefits of innovation with the possible risks of new approaches. 

Meghan J. Ryan, Gerald J. Ford Research Fellow and Associate Professor of Law, will explore the relationship between law and science, and how scientific methodology can positively contribute to the understanding and resolution of legal issues. As part of her research, Professor Ryan will explore the contrast between how American and German legal decision makers approach scientific questions. She will be interviewing scientists, judges, practicing lawyers and legal scholars about their experiences in handling scientific questions in legal contexts.

David O. Taylor, Co-Director of the Tsai Center For Law, Science and Innovation and Associate Professor of Law, will engage in a survey to identify how the Supreme Court’s recent decisions in the area of patent eligibility have impacted investment in research and development. Multiple organizations are in the process of considering ways to amend the patent statute. All of these organizations include interested individuals who believe that the Supreme Court’s approach to patent eligibility has negatively impacted the marketplace in which inventors create ideas and bring those ideas to market. Thus, this project will address a compelling research question that may have a significant impact on the development of the law governing patent eligibility.