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Miernyk Medal for Research Excellence

Upon its 40th anniversary, the Regional Research Institute at West Virginia University initiated an award for scholarly excellence in honor of Dr. William H. Miernyk, founder and first Director of the Institute. The William H. Miernyk Research Excellence Medal (the Miernyk Medal) is awarded annually to a young scholar for the best solely-authored paper presented at the Southern Regional Science Meeting. A substantial monetary stipend accompanies the Miernyk Medal.

William H. Miernyk earned both Bachelors and Masters Degrees in economics from the University of Colorado, followed by Masters and Doctoral Degrees in economics from Harvard University. Dedicated to research, he also discovered a love of teaching that would stay with him throughout his entire professorial career. Miernyk taught economics at Harvard, Northeastern University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Colorado before being recruited to West Virginia University to establish the Regional Research Institute. He originally committed to only a temporary stay at WVU, but found the area and work so appealing that he abandoned his plans to return to Colorado.

Perhaps best known for his widely distributed and well-received The Elements of Input-Output Analysis (1965), his interests and contributions to knowledge focused on a much broader set of topics within and beyond regional science. His research interests included such topics as pollution abatement, energy prices, unemployment, labor force participation, and migration in the Appalachian states. He served as a consultant for, among many others, US Senate committees, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and The World Bank. Known for his critical insight, rigor, and excellence in research, his writing was clear and concise. In addition to numerous contributions to the academic literature, Miernyk extended his sphere of influence to the general public through weekly columns in the Charleston Gazette.

To be eligible for the Miernyk Medal, authors must be registered for the current year's SRSA conference, and submit their papers electronically for panel review to the Regional Research Institute (RRI) at by the specified date.  Members of the panel will include the Director of the RRI, and additional referees selected by the RRI Director.

The Miernyk Medal may be awarded to any Ph.D. recipient at a rank of no higher than Assistant Professor at the time of the award. The winning paper will report the diligent and systematic enquiry and discovery of facts of principles relating to a topic of interest to regional scientists. The winning author must be the consensus choice of the panel. The Miernyk Medal may not be awarded every year, at the discretion of the panel.

Past Winners Include:

  • Santiago Pinto, 2005
  • Shaoming Cheng, 2006
  • Olivier Parent, 2008
  • Zhenhua Chen, 20014
  • John V. Winters, 2015
  • Carlianne Patrick, 2016
  • Alexandra Tsvetkova, 2017
  • Tessa Conroy, 2020
  • Joao-Pedro Ferreira, 2021