Nonprofit Research Grants

Nonprofit Research GrantsImagine That Inc. wants to support nonprofit organizations and their innovative research projects. In response, we established the ExtendSim Nonprofit Research Grant program. 

Under the Grant, Imagine That Inc. supports nonprofits by subsidizing the cost of a full Model Developer Edition of ExtendSim. In exchange, the nonprofit provides to Imagine That Inc. the ExtendSim models and related documents it has created for publication on the ExtendSim web site<.

Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), are eligible to apply. Projects should seek to create systemic change, strengthen the nonprofit sector, or seek to improve communities or the environment.

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Current Nonprofit Research Grants

NewImproving Resourcing Decisions for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention

Modeling the Indianapolis Homelessness Provider Network

CHIPPhillip Poor & Scott Sheehan
Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention

Indianapolis, IN
Grant awarded: January 7, 2021
To be completed: December 2021


Research project.

Modeling flow rates and capacity of the provider network will enable improved resourcing decisions and make Indianapolis's homelessness intervention and prevention efforts more effective.


Project description.

Have already created network map of current landscape. Plan to model current situation to identify pinchpoints and inefficiencies. Also plan to model assumptions associated with looming foreclosure crisis.


Questions this research will answer.

How can we better structure our network to improve housing outcomes?

How can we better communicate with government and other stakeholders to ensure the most impact from future investments/grants?


How research strategy will be designed to help answer these questions.

Will take the current map and run simulations to understand current capabilities and shortcomings with normal variations in inputs. Will then pressure test system with models based on foreclosure assumptions.


How ExtendSim will be used in this project.

ExtendSim will be the key modeling tool and communication tool for understanding the current system, needs, and future requirements of the provider network.


What is unique about this project?

To my knowledge, I am not aware that any other city has attempted this approach beyond simple network mapping.


How will this project help others?

This is an opportunity to make a significant contribution for the benefit our most vulnerable population.


What impact will this research make to the existing current state of knowledge?

We believe, that if successful, this approach can be adopted by other cities.


Updates
Coming soon!

NewSki Resort Management Faced with COVID-19 Restrictions

Alpine Skiing Resort Simulation: A COVID-19 Capacity Response

George Mason UniversityMichael King & Karen M. King PhD
George Mason University

School of Business
Department of Information Systems and Operations Management
Grant awarded: December 18, 2020
To be completed: May 2021


Research project.

Creating and implementing a discrete event simulation model can help a major North American ski resort, faced with COVID-19 restrictions and regulation, continue providing a superior experience to its skier customers.


Project description.

A major North American ski resort is currently faced with extensive COVID-19 restrictions and regulations that directly reduce the available skier days capacity of the ski resort. The company is concerned and attempting to make strategic moves to meet the COVID-19 restrictions. By creating a discrete event simulation model, the company can manipulate a set of decision variables that directly affect several key performance indicators, skier visits, cycle times and wait times, all which determine customer satisfaction levels and revenue.


Questions this research will answer.

What set of decision variables can be optimized to meet corporate goals and appropriate customer satisfaction levels?

What are the most important set of key performance indicators for ski report operations?

What can the ski resort forecast as a sustainable capacity level of skier days?


How research strategy will be designed to help answer these questions.

The first phase of this research project is to create a base discrete event simulation model, of a major ski resort, to measure mean skier rides per hour, mean cycle times and average wait times for each ski lift. The preliminary model, would use extensive skier ride data to develop the non-stationary Poisson arrival rates required for modeling each of the seven ski lifts in the resort. Having accurate historical data gathered by the RFID gate systems, supports the realistic development of skier arrival rates, and helps validate the simulation model.

The second phase of this research project is to optimize the effects of a set of decision variables on mean skier rides per hour, mean cycle times and average wait times for each lift as well as aggregate skier rides per hour. Currently there are five proposed decision variables each having several experimental levels. Servicescape constructs and SERVQUAL metrics will be evaluated. The optimization results will be used to make managerial recommendations of reasonable.


How ExtendSim will be used in this project.

The ExtendSim platform will be utilized to create a discrete event model of a major ski resort ski lift system. The simulation model will provide a base level of descriptive key performance indicators. ExtendSim will be required to optimize the model using a set of operational decision variables.


What is unique about this project?

Although there has been extensive research and simulation conducted within the production and supply chain domain, in respect to the United States economy, simulation research related to the services sector lags behind. This is somewhat paradoxical, since the service sector represents over 75% of the United States labor force and approximately 75% of the United States Gross Domestic Product. To my knowledge, no discrete event simulation model of a ski resort system of ski lift exists. The extent that COVID-19 has affected the daily operations of the leisure industry is known, however the use of discrete event simulation with the goal of optimization is not known.


How will this project help others?

My wife and I are huge alpine skiers. We have been skiing for 40 plus years. We have even lived in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States at the base of a major mountain range with four world renowned skis resorts at our down steps! We are selfish to a degree, and expect ski resorts to be managed and operated with the efficiency of a production line. Unfortunately, like numerous areas in the leisure industry, the alpine skiing industry suffers from limited scientific operational modeling. The “good ole boy” method of ski resort management has lasted too long. Major resort consolidations, and new capital availability has helped the alpine skiing industry to invest in new technology, infrastructure, resulting with the ability of providing a more consistent consumer experience.


What impact will this research make to the existing current state of knowledge?

Creating the ability of rationalize capacity management for the alpine skiing industry based on the ability to:

Meets COVID-19 reduced capacity requirements and peer resort guidelines.

Provides a satisfactory service level to skiers, measured by cycle time and wait time.

Provides a sustainable revenue stream for the resort.


Publications

King, Michael A., Abrahams, Alan S., Ragsdale, Cliff T. “Ensemble Methods for Advanced Skier Days Prediction.” Expert Systems with Applications, Volume 41, Issue 4, Part 1, March 2014.


Updates
Coming soon!