Canberk Ucel

Canberk Ucel
  • Doctoral Candidate

Contact Information

Research Interests: empirical operations, agricultural productivity & sustainability, poverty alleviation in smallholder value chains, development policy, Big Data in agriculture, journalism business models, politics & operations

Links: Linkedin Profile


Canberk Ucel is a sixth year doctoral student specializing in Operations Management, with a particular interest in agricultural productivity and sustainability.

His primary research looks at the relationships between agricultural productivity, environmental conservation and economic development/poverty alleviation. He leverages industry partnerships to access unique, proprietary data on farm operations, and conducts extensive field work, to generate useful insights and practical recommendations for the farmers, companies and policymakers. He is currently working on two main research projects. In his first set of projects, he collaborates with a large international organization to study smallholder farming in South-East Asia. These projects use unique farm-level data and field work to explore the drivers of low farm productivity and farmer poverty and how better-informed farming practices, alternative supply chain arrangements and regulatory innovations could help address these challenges.

His second set of projects look at large-scale, industrial farming in the U.S. Mid-West through an extensive partnership with a promising agricultural technology startup. In this project, he uses unprecedented granular data on farm operations to develop risk- and data-driven farm management strategies that could significantly reduce environmental impact while improving farm productivity. Several of his initial findings in both sets of projects have been keenly observed by farmers and companies and he is currently working to develop these findings into immediately actionable recommendations for farmers and companies. He believes information technologies and data analytics can help progress towards agricultural productivity, environmental conservation and economic tools if accompanied by the right organizational capabilities and well-articulated theories of change. He is interested in developing this stream of research on agriculture to include extensive primary data collection and randomized-controlled field experiments testing operational and organizational interventions he proposes.

In his future research, he is interested in studying similar complex challenges in other, less-studied industries leveraging industry collaborations, advanced data analytic tools and extensive field work. He is particularly interested in studying journalism business models and the technological and economic disruption introduced by the online channel.

He received his undergraduate degree from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey in Industrial Engineering prior to joining the program. At Penn, he has been involved in the Wharton Doctoral Council and has represented Wharton research students at Penn’s graduate student government for the past two years. When he is not working on his research, he spends time learning music production and digital arts.

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