Research at the University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh is distinguished among colleges and universities for the research activities of its faculty, graduate students, and research staff. Much of the research performed is the individual effort of members of the University community, while some emerges from the activities of organized teams. The quantity and quality of research conducted at the University of Pittsburgh exemplify the University's status as a major public (state-related) research university. The University of Pittsburgh is one of 62 members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) which collectively perform a major share of basic research in the United States and Canada. The University seeks and receives funding for programs that affect not only the residents of Allegheny County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania but also people throughout the United States and the world.

Research activities are conducted in the various schools and in research centers such as the Learning Research and Development Center, the University Center for International Studies, the University Center for Social and Urban Research, and the Center for Philosophy of Science. The Allegheny Observatory is a specialized off-campus facility where astronomers are provided the equipment necessary to advance their research.

In the health sciences area of the University, investigators throughout the six schools of the health sciences, related institutes and centers, and affiliated hospitals are engaged in a substantial program of basic and clinical research. The UPMC Health System is home to the world's foremost organ transplantation program, whose activities include multi-organ transplants, cellular transplants, research to develop improved immunosuppressant medications and techniques, and investigations of temporary and potentially permanent mechanical assist devices. The Biomedical Science Tower's basic research laboratories accommodate the growing research efforts in molecular genetics, biochemistry, cancer, psychiatry, pharmacology, and transplantation.

The McGowan Center for Artificial Organ Development is an interdisciplinary program of the University, drawing on physicians, bioengineers, and other scientists from the Schools of Medicine, Engineering, and Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and others. The Center's primary mission is to develop and evaluate replacement devices for those organs unable to recover sufficient function to sustain life. These devices must be biocompatible, reliable, affordable, and provide patients with a satisfactory quality of life.

The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, is a consortium of the University, its affiliated hospitals, and Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to providing diagnosis and treatment, particularly to residents of the tri-state area, the Institute sponsors an intensive program of clinical and basic research.

The UPMC Health System's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic has earned an international reputation for treatment of psychiatric disorders and research on their causes.

The Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition is a joint project of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The Center, created in 1994, is dedicated to the study of the neural basis of cognitive processes, including learning and memory, language and thought, perception, attention, and planning. It promotes the application of the results of this study to artificial intelligence, technology, and medicine.

Various other research entities at the University include the Materials Research Center, a joint endeavor of the School of Engineering and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (Chemistry and Physics), and the Center for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, a joint effort of the Schools of Engineering and Medicine.

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center provides access to the most advanced computing resources available. It is a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Also facilitating research is the University of Pittsburgh Applied Research Center. The Center provides opportunities for both University research and private ventures.

The Office of Research has responsibilities to stimulate, develop, and facilitate research, scholarship, and related scholarly activities. To achieve these goals, the Office provides an array of services including identification and dissemination of funding source information; assistance in the development of projects, programs, and proposals; continuing education to the various University units regarding detailed facets of research administration policy and procedure; review of proposal and award documents for compliance with sponsor and University procedures; and negotiation and acceptance of all grant and contract awards for the University. In addition, the Office administers the Central Research Development Fund, in conjunction with the University Research Council. This fund provides small grants to faculty for pilot-phase projects.

Available for on-line searches by all members of the University community is the Community of Science database, which outlines the research interests and expertise of those faculty who have submitted individual profiles.

Recently, Pitt has intensified technology transfer activities through the Office of Technology Management. This office is the central office responsible for commercialization of technology. Activities include intellectual property protection and licensing through its Office of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property. Technology Management is further responsible for the formation of joint ventures and partnerships and for the formation, financing, and development of spin-off companies.

The Chancellor's Distinguished Research Awards annually recognize outstanding scholarly accomplishments of up to five of the University's faculty. Each award consists of a cash prize and a grant for the support of the faculty member's teaching and research.

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Office of Institutional Research
University of Pittsburgh Fact Book, 1998-99