CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Robert W. Gore Materials Innovation Project
Center for Contemporary History and Policy
Chemical Heritage Foundation
The Center for Contemporary History and Policy (CCHP) of the Chemical Heritage Foundation is seeking scholars to write case studies on
contemporary materials innovation. The case studies, typically 25-35
pages in length, will consist of empirical investigations on research
and development, production, marketing, and use of new materials since
ca. 1980. Studies should describe the underlying scientific and
technical advances, but the primary analytical orientation should be
on the broader social, economic, and political context of materials
innovation, including but not limited to: the role of regulation; the
influence of standards and standard-setting institutions; the role of
organizational factors; the impacts of changing markets and supply
chains on corporate innovation; the effects of the changing innovation
The CCHP will provide selected scholars with stipends and research
funds to conduct research and write the case studies, as well as other
administrative support to publish and disseminate the final results.
Successful scholars will be required to visit Philadelphia for a
mid-term review and a final presentation.
Selected scholars will retain copyright of the case studies, and the
CHF encourages them to publish the results as scholarly articles and
About the Gore Materials Innovation Project
New materials pervade our contemporary world. From novel metal alloys
and plastics, to semiconductor and biomedical materials, materials
are, almost by definition, the fundamental building blocks of the
human-built civilization. Nevertheless, our understanding of how
materials innovations come to be has so far been extremely limited.
While substantial work has been done in the field of innovation
studies, materials innovation, by virtue of its invisibility, has been
largely neglected barring a few exceptions of bakelite, nylon, and
In an age where nanotechnology claims to build new materials from the
bottom up, the need to gain a better understanding of materials
innovation has come increasingly to the fore. The main goals of the
Gore Materials Innovation Case Studies Project are: (1) to illuminate
the innovation process of new materials; and (2) to identify current
changes in the innovation environment. We hope that the case studies
will help governments better prepare for economic and social changes;
allow industry leaders to organize better for successful innovation;
give universities tools to provide better links to industry; and offer
insights to the public and nongovernmental organizations.
Begun in 2006, the Gore Materials Innovation Case Studies Project has
four completed and six ongoing case studies on a variety of topics.
Previous studies include: biodegradable plastics at BASF; chemically
amplified photoresists at IBM; Nanomesh water-filtration system; and
the role of DARPA in the development integrated photonics. Completed
case studies can be viewed on the CHF website at
Preferred Themes for 2009-2010
While we will accept proposals on all topics covered within the broad
boundaries outlined above, in order to maintain the balance of the
overall project, we plan to give preference to proposals engaging in
the following themes.
(1) Materials innovation in non-U.S. contexts, especially in Asia
(2) Emerging regulatory regimes in nano-materials
(3) Failed materials innovations, which become a bottleneck in
For clarifications on preferred themes, please get in touch with the
Program Associate, Innovation Studies Program.
How to Apply
The deadline for proposal submission is 31 July 2009.
Submissions should include:
(1) Cover letter including the following information: name; mailing
address to be used for future correspondence; telephone and fax
numbers; e-mail address; present rank and institution name; date Ph.D.
received or expected; and title of your research project.
(2) Case study proposal of not more than 1,000 words in length.
(3) Curriculum vitae.
(4) (For graduate students only) One letter of recommendation sent
directly to the Program Associate, Innovation Studies Program.
Please send the complete package to:
Chi Chan, Program Associate, Innovation Studies Program
Chemical Heritage Foundation
315 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Proposals will be reviewed by CCHP and outside reviewers, and
candidates will be notified of results by mid-August 2009. We expect
the first draft of the selected case studies to be completed by spring
For more information about CCHP activities, please visit our website
To make further inquiries about the project and/or application
procedure, please contact Chi Chan, Program Associate, Innovation
Studies Program at 215.873.8249 or [email protected].