Sara Saberi, assistant professor in the Business School in the discipline of operations and industrial engineering, has 


 been named the Norton Assistant Professor for a two-year term.

This chair was created by the Norton Company in 1988 for a professor in manufacturing engineering or a related field to support a junior faculty member who has shown distinction and promise to be a leader in their field. The history of the Norton Company is closely tied to WPI. George I. Alden, WPI’s first professor of mechanical engineering, helped shape WPI’s founding principle of merging theory and practice while serving as head of the Mechanical Engineering Department. He served as acting president of WPI twice and was a trustee for 14 years. In 1896, he resigned from WPI to devote all his attention to Norton Company, which he helped establish in 1885.

“We are proud that Dr. Saberi has been named the Norton Assistant professor. Her research in supply chain and blockchain technologies has distinguished Dr. Saberi in her field, evidenced by the fact that she is one of the most cited researchers in the world,” says Debora Jackson, Harry G. Stoddard Professor of Management and Dean of WPI’s Business School. “This designation recognizes the tremendous impact that Dr. Saberi will continue to have in the academy, industry, and society.”

Saberi earned a BS in computer engineering from Shiraz University, a MS in socio-economic systems engineering from Isfahan University of Technology, a PhD in industrial engineering from University Putra Malaysia, and a PhD in business administration with a concentration in management science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research interests include supply chain networks equilibrium, in which she models supply chain networks to understand the interactions of agents who act in their own self-interest and their impact on business and society. A particular focus is on the interaction between supply chain networks and sustainable and responsible decision-making.

Saberi’s second area of research is on blockchain technology contributions in the supply chain networks. Blockchain, as a new disruptive technology, has the potential to drastically change the environment in which supply chain networks operate. Her research focuses on understanding, defining, and addressing proper barriers and enablers in adapting and governing this technology as well as analyzing and modeling the economic interaction between parties involved in a blockchain-based supply chain.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Saberi to start a third research stream which projects her supply chain management expertise in practical implementation for manufacturing industries. This stream is related to her two recently funded grants supported by the National Science Foundation and U.S. Economic Development Association to enable accelerated paths to manufacture of competitive products in crisis times. WPI’s project-based learning curriculum facilitates her future plans to establish relationships with companies to conduct additional empirical research.

“Professor Saberi’s work exemplified the blending of theory and practice that is at the heart of everything we do in engineering at WPI,” says John McNeill, the Bernard M. Gordon Dean of WPI’s School of Engineering. “That her work supporting industrial engineering is based in WPI’s Business School shows the collaborative relationship between schools that makes WPI faculty even more effective in addressing global challenges.”