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What we do

Founded in 1965, the Regional Research Institute creates learning opportunities and provides research support for faculty members and students, while serving as an internationally prominent center for the advancement of regional science. The Institute’s forte has been its pioneering research on methods for analyzing regions and its multidisciplinary approach to studying regional development.

Our goal is to create learning opportunities and to provide research support for those engaged in regional research, and to bring together scholars from across campus and around the world to create an intellectually rich environment for the conduct of regional research. We sponsor seminars, workshops, and conferences, providing a forum for exchanging ideas and discussing regional development research and issues.

The Institute sponsors scholarly seminars and workshops. It also maintains numerous regional science listservs. Since 1999, the Institute has published the Web Book of Regional Science, which makes it possible for instructors to choose from a menu to design courses that are appropriate for their students. The free Web Book is a valuable learning resource used world-wide by teachers and professionals alike. 

Our research focuses on theories and history of regional development, methods for studying regions, and policies for stimulating their development. RRI provides the following opportunities:

  • Research support
  • Working papers
  • Graduate student research
  • Seminars, workshops
  • Post-doctoral research fellow
  • Web Book of Regional Science
  • Visiting scholars
  • Cross-disciplinary stimulation
  • Team-oriented research

A recent study published by Oklahoma State University places WVU’s Regional Research Institute, or RRI, as second nationally and sixth globally in terms of regional science research productivity.

RRI researchers have played prominent roles in the University, where six have been named Benedum Chairs or Benedum Distinguished Scholars, and in the field of regional science, seven have been Southern Regional Science Association presidents and four have been named SRSA distinguished fellows.

An external review of the Institute showed that no other research group in the area has been so attentive to the dissemination of new knowledge that they have produced, and that doubtless thousands of regional researchers worldwide use RRI as a resource and as an entry point for conducting regional research.

“Recognizing the depth and breadth of its knowledge about unconventional natural gas resources, the United States Department of State has called on West Virginia University to share that expertise with the world.

With increasing interest in natural gas development both in the U.S. and worldwide, the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources has reached a cooperative agreement with WVU to create the International Forum on Unconventional Gas Sustainability and the Environment, or INFUSE, a unique technical program dedicated to increasing other countries’ understanding of best practices for unconventional gas resource development through a mix of classroom and in the field activities."