Industry Studies Association Established at Pitt to Link Academia and Businesses

Issue Date: 
April 26, 2009
Frank GiarrataniFrank Giarratani

A new multidisciplinary virtual research community—the Industry Studies Association—has been established at the University of Pittsburgh. The new association brings together, through a Web-based community, researchers from top universities nationwide who have extensive knowledge of a particular industry and its problems. The new member association includes scholars who study a variety of industries, including automotive, health care, and software, to name a few.

Launched April 15, the association’s online presence is The community has more than 1,200 initial members 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 conceptualized by faculty members affiliated with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Industry Studies Program, which was founded in 1990 on the premise that industries are sufficiently different from one another and that they individually deserve rigorous scholarship. The industry studies community comprises scholars at a number of universities who study individual companies and people of 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.”