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Opportunity for social science faculty to work with WVU Center for Innovation in Gas Research and Utilization

Ashley Caiola, CIGRU graduate student, synthesizing catalytic materials used for converting shale gas to liquid aromatic chemicals.


Social Science Research Collaboration Opportunities with the Center for Innovation 
in Gas Research and Utilization

The West Virginia University Center for Innovation in Gas Research and Utilization is seeking expressions of interest from faculty interested in affiliation and collaboration opportunities with CIGRU’s Economic and Community Development team. This is an opportunity for WVU researchers with interests in natural gas-related policy, economic development, community development, regulatory issues, finance and other social science areas to gain access to CIGRU’s subject matter expertise and apply their research skills to issues critical to the future of West Virginia and the region.

What is CIGRU?

CIGRU is an eight-member, inter-disciplinary research center, headed by Dr. John Hu, the Statler Chair in Engineering for Natural Gas Utilization. Its mission is to promote and enable effective stewardship of West Virginia’s shale gas resources for the people of West Virginia, the mid-Appalachian region, the nation and world. CIGRU seeks to accomplish this by advancing gas utilization as a critical engine of sustainable community and economic development through integrated, multi-disciplinary initiatives across science, technology, law and policy, in close partnership with communities, industry, government, other universities and NGOs.

What is CIGRU’s Economic and Community Development Team?

One of CIGRU’s goals is to leverage WVU publication opportunities and thought leadership to give industry, government and communities impartial and factual bases supporting key decisions around gas utilization-related development. College of Law Professor Josh Fershee leads the four member E&CD team working toward this goal. Through 2022, each member of the team is funded under CIGRU’s Research Challenge Grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Commission. In addition, the E&CD team also works to partner with other researchers around critical economic, policy, development, finance, legal and regulatory issues essential to effective gas utilization to the benefit of the state and the region. Through this request for expressions of interest, the E&CD team seeks to build further collaborations.

What are the benefits to you of collaborating with CIGRU E&CD Team?

  • A visible opportunity for collaboration to promote the visibility of your research by putting it in a critical, practical context that is vital to the future of West Virginia;
  • Access to subject matter and technical expertise around emerging gas utilization technologies; and
  • A way to establish relationships for participation in potential future, interdisciplinary funding opportunities.

How can you express interest?

If you would like to find out more, we would like to hear from you.

To initiate that process, please send us a brief, one or two-page overview of your research interests, publications and particular issues you think could be relevant to the mission of CIGRU and the E&CD team.

Send it to: Cody Stewart at If you have any questions, feel free to call Cody at 304-293-8281.

PLEASE NOTE: this is not a call for papers or proposals with predefined topic areas. Instead, we are interested in learning more about your research and how it might relate to critical policy, economic development, regulatory and other questions around gas utilization in West Virginia and the region. That said, by way of example, areas of relevant research could include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Community impacts of shale gas development;
  • Business development, including expansion, retention, and attraction of new opportunities;
  • Educational impacts of shale development and gas utilization;
  • Health effects of shale development and related industries;
  • Economic impacts on children and communities;
  • Challenges and opportunities for agricultural production;
  • Infrastructure needs, deficiencies, and opportunities;
  • The role of immigration in job development related to gas utilization; and
  • Migration trends of West Virginia (brain drain and our aging population).