Haifeng Qian teaches economics, economic development policy, urban development, and spatial analysis. His research interests include regional and local economic development, entrepreneurship and innovation, and public policy analysis. He has extensively studied why some cities are more entrepreneurial than others, how entrepreneurship and innovation impact regional and local economic development, and what types of public polices are effective in facilitating growth-oriented startup activity. Recently, he completed a research study on college-town entrepreneurial ecosystems with the support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Qian's research appears in peer-reviewed journals such as Annals of Regional Science, Economic Development Quarterly, Environment and Planning A, Growth and Change, Journal of Economic Geography, Journal of Technology Transfer, Regional Science Policy & Practice, Regional Studies, Small Business Economics, and Urban Studies.
Qian serves as an editor of Small Business Economics (a Springer journal), an associate editor of Economic Development Quarterly (a Sage journal), and an associate editor of Regional Studies, Regional Science (a Taylor & Francis journal). In 2016, he served as the program chair of the 63rd North American annual conference of the Regional Science Association International.