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April 30, 2009

Virtual economic research group formed

A new multidisciplinary virtual research community — the Industry Studies Association — has been established at Pitt. The association bills itself as the first in the nation to bridge academic scholarship and industry in an effort to address the economic crisis.

The association brings together, through a web-based community, researchers from universities nationwide who have knowledge of a particular industry and its problems. The association includes scholars who study a variety of industries, including automotive, health care and software, to name a few.

The association’s online site is The community has more than 1,200 members currently and is being financed through membership dues, conference fees, grants and charitable donations.

“Many issues facing industry — emerging technologies, restructuring and globalization — go to the heart of the current economic crisis,” said Frank Giarratani, founding president of the organization and a Pitt economics professor. “The Industry Studies Association creates an important resource linking academia and industry at a critical juncture of both national and international economic upheaval.”

The association was created by faculty members affiliated with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s industry studies program. The industry studies community comprises scholars at a number of universities who study individual companies and people in an industry through data and observations.

“The multidisciplinary research conducted by industry studies scholars generally employs a wide range of both quantitative and qualitative methods often conducted across multiple firms within a particular industry,” explained Giarratani. “This leads to a contextually rich picture of business phenomena and a depth of understanding and insight that can uniquely inform both industry and public policy.”

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