Research just released reveals the prominent role played by West Virginia University in the field of regional science, defined by the nexus of economics, geography, and planning. At WVU, the Regional Research Institute (RRI) is the focal point for this kind of research, with Faculty Research Associates (FRA) in 21 WVU departments and 5 colleges. RRI and FRA efforts place WVU at number two nationally and number 7 in the world in numbers of articles published in the Top Ten Core Regional Science Journal Publications for the most recent five-year period (2010-2014). Nationally, WVU follows only The Ohio State University, and leads institutions like Arizona Sate University (3), UCLA (4), UIUC (5), Oklahoma State University (6) and Cornell, Harvard, and UC-Irvine rounding out the top 10. Internationally, WVU ranks higher on this list than such institutions as the University of Cambridge, Oxford, and University College London. Among the Top 100 ranking authors internationally are the RRI’s director Randall Jackson (53), Donald Lacombe (80), and Gianfranco Piras (28), who along with RRI’s FRAs have helped the Institute strengthen its reputation as an internationally recognized center of excellence in regional research.[1]

The report, published by researchers at Oklahoma State University, appears as the RRI begins its 50th Anniversary celebration, and validates the Institute’s longstanding goal of enhancing the visibility and reputation of the University both nationally and internationally. It reinforces statements from the RRI’s most recent external review that “to economists and geographers trained since the early 1960s, WVU is best known as an international leader in regional research.” The review went on to add that no other research group in this area has been so attentive to the dissemination of new knowledge that they have produced, and that doubtless thousands of regional researchers worldwide have bookmarked the RRI website as their entry point for conducting regional research.

“We are pleased to continue our half-century tradition of regional research excellence,” said Jackson, adding that “we know that many decisions to accept appointments at WVU have been heavily influenced by the Institute’s stature and its community of on-campus scholars, and a great many student job prospects and career paths have been enhanced by their RRI ties.” The Institute brings together faculty and students with regional and spatial analytical interests to engage in interdisciplinary research. More than two dozen WVU faculty specialize and offer more than 30 courses in spatial statistics, spatial econometrics, regional economic analysis, and related research topics. Virtually all of the contributing publications were authored by RRI Faculty, FRAs, and Graduate Research Assistants.

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[1] Preliminary unpublished revisions to correct some misclassifications show these numbers to be Jackson (33), Lacombe (84), Piras (30), and ARE’s Peter Schaeffer (83). The original report and preliminary revisions are available upon request.