Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Industrial Engineering Research

Every member of our faculty is actively engaged in research in one or more areas of industrial engineering. Our departmental focus is on operations research, manufacturing, related core areas (including engineering education and safety engineering), and most importantly, the intersection of all of these areas. Sponsored doctoral research focuses primarily on methodology, but faculty also undertake many applied projects in a broad range of application areas that include Masters students as well as exceptional undergraduate upperclassmen. Our per capita research expenditures rank among the best in the country as compared to our peers.

Operations Research (OR) is an engineering discipline primarily focused on the science of making decisions with the goal of optimizing an objective criterion, such as cost, risk, revenue, or performance. OR techniques often lie at the intersection of optimization, probability, and statistics, and in today’s era of analytics (or data-driven decision making), these methodologies are particularly relevant. The research of the OR faculty emphasizes both new solution strategies and novel application domains. Specific areas of interest include:


  • Optimization and algorithms
  • Stochastic modeling and analysis


  • Healthcare operations and medical decision making
  • Energy and sustainability
  • Supply chain modeling
  • Maintenance optimization and reliability

Faculty: Jayant Rajgopal, Larry Shuman, Lisa Maillart, Oleg Prokopyev, Hoda Bidkhori, Daniel Jiang, Bo Zeng, Hyo Kyung Lee, Amin Rahimian, Jourdain Lamperski, Natasa Vidic

Our manufacturing research covers the science and technology involved in the design, fabrication and characterization of advanced materials and products at different length scales (from the nanoscale to the macroscale). Particular emphasis is on how manufacturing and design research on products, processes and systems impact our societal needs in areas of energy, health and the environment. The following is a list of focus research areas in manufacturing:

  • Advanced and active materials
  • Nanomanufacturing and micromanufacturing
  • Medical device design and biomanufacturing
  • Metrology and materials characterization
  • Surface and biointerface engineering
  • Manufacturing systems, supply chains, and facility logistics
  • Additive manufacturing and reverse engineering
  • Workforce development

Faculty:Bopaya Bidanda, Jayant Rajgopal, Ravi Shankar, Paul Leu, Mostafa Bedewy, Young Jae Chun


Our faculty engage in funded and unfunded research in a broad variety of areas closely related to the core of the Industrial Engineering discipline. These include engineering education, safety engineering, and others. 

Engineering education research (EER) is the field of inquiry that creates knowledge that aims to inform and improve the education of engineers. It achieves this through research on topics such as: epistemology, policy, assessment, pedagogy, diversity, ethics, innovative design, and global competency, as they pertain to engineering.

Safety engineering uses mathematical modeling to reduce the rates of injuries and catastrophic incidents in various domains, including oil and gas processing, specialty chemicals, power generation and distribution, and pharmaceuticals.              

Faculty:Mary Besterfield-Sacre, Larry Shuman, Karen Bursic, Joel Haight