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

book chapters.

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

technological development

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

[email protected]

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].