The William H. Miernyk Research Excellence Medal

Upon its 40th anniversary in 2005, the Regional Research Institute (RRI) 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 intended to be awarded annually at the Southern Regional Science Association (SRSA) Annual Meeting to the author of the best SRSA conference paper written and presented by a scholar within six years of receiving their Ph.D. A monetary stipend accompanies the awarding of the Miernyk Medal.

William H. Miernyk earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics from the University of Colorado, followed by master’s 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 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.

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. He also served as a consultant for, among many others, US Senate committees, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the World Bank.

The Miernyk Medal competition is open to any Ph.D. recipient no more than six years beyond the date on which their degree was awarded and at a rank no higher than Assistant Professor (or equivalent). SRSA membership, presentation of the paper at the SRSA Annual Meeting, and attendance at the SRSA Awards Banquet are also required. The winning paper will focus on the diligent and systematic enquiry and discovery of facts or principles relating to a topic of interest to regional scientists. The winning paper must either be solo-authored or, in the case of co-authored papers, submissions must include a letter from the co-author stating that the eligible author is the driving intellectual force (and deserving of first-authorship) for the paper. The winning author must also be the consensus choice of the review panel. Members of the review panel will include the current Director of the RRI and other researchers in regional science selected by RRI Director.

Information about the 2025 Miernyk Medal competition will be available in the last quarter of 2024.

A list of past winners and more information about the Miernyk Medal can be found at