About CIS

Scholars committed to industry research know that the kinds of problems they address are multifaceted and that the perspectives brought by several different academic disciplines often are required for significant advances. The Center for Industry Studies is dedicated to broadening and developing a transdisciplinary community of scholars who are focused on industry research. By encouraging communication with industry practitioners and recognizing the importance of field-based research, the Center hopes to advance scholarship and have a broad impact on industry and the community.

Our research also helps to provide unique educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and serves as a vehicle for helping students gain access to professional opportunities. Through research and education, we seek to enhance the well-being of our community and to further its economic development.

We believe that the greatest learning opportunities occur at the intersection of disciplines.  

Communication between academic research activities and business firms can lead to partnerships that encourage educational opportunities and economic advancement. For students, the results can involve exposure to competitive problems at the cutting edge of economic change. For organizations and institutions, the results can be the solidification of competitive advantage in a dynamic environment. For communities, the results can lead to a basis for knowledge that will support economic development. After more than two decades of industry research and collaboration, faculty members who lead research in the Center for Industry Studies have established the Center´s credibility and demonstrated its potential. The Center builds on this experience to encourage research on a broad range of broadly defined industry sectors ... from the well-established to the newly emerging, from manufacturing to healthcare to services and non-profit organizations. Through scholarship and applied research, we seek benefits in education, competitiveness, and regional economic development.


The Center for Industry Studies promotes scholarly engineering-based research that is informed by the practical experience of industry to advance engineering, economics, and other academic disciplines and enhance the impact of scholarship on industry and in the community. 

Please also take a moment to read about the impact that Roger S. Ahlbrandt Jr. (1941-1999) had in shaping the ideas that led to the creation of the Center for Industry Studies.


The Center for Industry Studies was created because of research that started in the Sloan Steel Industry Center, which was one of the first research centers sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation´s Industry Centers Program. The Sloan Foundation program, which began in 1990 was based around the idea that the complexity of the challenges faced by modern industry requires knowledge from a broad range of academic disciplines. This perspective led to the creation of the Center for Industry Studies as a focal point for multidisciplinary industry research at the University of Pittsburgh. The Center was founded on the belief that academic research concerning industry can further scholarly disciplines while helping to create educational opportunities for students and promote economic development. In 2002, the Sloan Foundation began a partnership with the Center for Industry Studies to help build an academic community around the concept of industry studies research - research in which scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines have made commitments to ground their work in the practical experience of industry.

As a consequence of this collaboration, the Industry Studies Association was launched in October 2007, became tax-exempt in September 2008 as a 501 (c) (3) organization, and began accepting general membership in April 2009. Professor Giarratani was the founding President of the Industry Studies Association and served in that capacity from 2007 to 2011, and the Center for Industry Studies was based in the Department of Economics. Today, the Industry Studies Association has over 400 members worldwide and draws from a variety of academic disciplines, including economics, engineering, operations research, and business administration. These scholars collaborate through publications, committee work, and annual conferences that showcase the latest advances in scholarship related to industry.  

The Center for Industry Studies was moved to the Department of Industrial Engineering in 2015.  Professor Bopaya Bidanda reframed the Center for Industry Studies to focus on engineering-based multi-disciplinary research to improve the quality of life in society utilizing principles from the Business of Humanity (BoH) project. The Center was also supplemented by an additional endowment from an anonymous Foundation. The Center now undertakes projects that utilize BoH principles and also funds interdisciplinary research with the potential to transform communities and society.