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Our History

The Regional Research Institute opened on September 1, 1965. Professor William H. Miernyk, a regional economist trained at Harvard, came to West Virginia University as founding Director. His pioneering research on input-output modeling rapidly brought the Institute international prominence in regional economics and the new multidisciplinary field of regional science. The orientation he established is at the heart of the Institute today:

The Regional Research Institute exists for scholarly research. Scholars define the research projects, and scholars evaluate the proposals and results. The overall objective is to increase knowledge through publication of journal articles and books. Graduate students are an integral part of the Institute. As their educations progress, so do their roles on research projects. They learn research skills, conduct and publish research, and present papers at conferences in the U.S. and worldwide. The scope of the Institute extends beyond the economic and social problems of Appalachia to similar regions elsewhere. It incorporates an enduring focus on quantitative methods for studying regions and evaluating policy directions. The Institute encourages and nurtures international and multidisciplinary research. It organizes conferences and seminars, initiates research activities, creates research opportunities abroad, and hosts visiting scholars.

For 50 years, the Regional Research Institute has helped scholars do research. For numerous individuals, both at West Virginia University and elsewhere, it has provided crucial encouragement, stimulation, and opportunities. Its programs involve faculty members, graduate students, and an extensive network of scholars in the United States and abroad.


Temporary quarters in the Wise Library and the Willey Street Annex, 1965-1976 

Orange brick house at 511 North High Street (the Glasscock House), 1976-2007 

University Services Center (Prete), Evansdale campus, May, 2007- June, 2009 

5th floor of the Chestnut Ridge Research Building, Evansdale campus, July 2009-


William H. Miernyk, 1965-1983 

Robert Saunders, Acting Director, 1969-1970 

Patrick C. Mann, Interim, 1983-1984 

Andrew M. Isserman, 1985-1997 

Brian J. Cushing, Acting Director, 1991 

Luc Anselin, Interim Director, 1997-1998 

Scott Loveridge, 1999-2000 

Ronald L. Lewis, Interim Director, 2000-2001 

Randall W. Jackson, Director, 2001- 


Two faculty positions were created at the RRI in 1985. They are non-tenure track, two-to-three year appointments for recent Ph.D.s capable of becoming leading scholars. The research assistant professors conduct their own research, participate in joining research projects, and generally teach one course per year.

Paul M. Beaumont, 1985-1987 Robert Walker, 1985-1987 Mary Beth Pudup, 1986-1989 Philip Shapira, 1988-1990 Carla Dickstein, 1988-1990 Stephen Fournier, 1991-1993 Terance Rephann, 1993-1994 Stephan Weiler, 1994-1996 Cynthia Rogers, 1994-1997 Emily Talen, 1995-1998 Attila Varga, 1997-1998 Oleg Smirnov, 1998 Ge Lin, 2000-2005 Shaoming Cheng, 2006-2008 Randall Rosenberger, 2000-2002 Gianfranco Piras, 2010-2014 Péter Járosi, 2015-


One faculty-equivalent position was created in 2005. These individuals are non-tenure track, three-year appointments for more senior Ph.D. researchers capable of becoming leading scholars. The research associates conduct their own research, participate in RRI research projects, and contribute to instruction by committee participation, teaching course modules, and presenting guest lectures and seminars.

Hodjat Ghadimi, 2005-2010


This is a tenured, joint position; 50 percent of the appointment is with the RRI, 25 percent of the appointment is with Agricultural and Resource Economics and 25 percent of the appointment is with Economics.

Donald J. Lacombe, 2010-2016

Regional Research Institute Timeline