You may ask, “How do you do research on research?” ROR is a program that focuses on determining best practices for processes related to the effective management of R&D in industry. This is accomplished by assembling industry leaders from research, technology, and innovation to collaborate in volunteer working groups. Together, volunteers share their experiences and research case studies to establish best practices regarding common issues of interest or concern. The research performed in ROR is leading-edge because it provides a broader and more diverse perspective for enhancing the effectiveness of technological innovation by leveraging experts across all industries. Participating in these unique groups provides an invaluable learning experience and wealth of network connections.


ROR leads and executes a portfolio of projects, which are initiated as a result of member interest. IRI member volunteers define and lead each project as a working group of the ROR. All IRI members are encouraged to join any project, at any stage in the project lifecycle. Further, project leaders may invite people from outside of IRI (academia, consultants) to participate in their working groups, where subject matter expertise will strengthen the research focus and also help facilitate the timely completion of a project. ROR holds three live meetings per year, one every winter and at both of IRI's semi-annual meetings, where the working groups conduct “real work” on their projects. Face-to-face meetings provide opportunities to recruit new members and allow current members to connect and re-connect with a network of innovation leaders across all industries.


ROR Working Groups will next be meeting at IRI's Member Summit, October 18 - 21 in Chicago, IL.  Don't miss this opportunity to engage with colleagues and collaborate on some very critical topics. 


A Research-on-Research Subcommittee was appointed by the IRI Board of Directors in 1968, following an unsuccessful effort to convince the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish centers for research-on-research at universities in the United States. The subcommittee concluded that research-on-research was important enough to the interests of the Institute that the idea should be initiated without the support of NSF. Thus, a regular standing committee of IRI was created in 1971 to carry out research on the process of research in industry.


The Vision of the IRI's ROR program is to be the leading forum to identify, lead, support and conduct research that enhances innovation.  The vision is to be achieved through projects, programs and initiatives that:

  • Capture the forefront of emerging thinking
  • Identify emerging concepts and best practices
  • Develop actionable learning, and
  • Promote knowledge diffusion


IRI's ROR activities provide R&D leaders the unique opportunity to work with peers from a variety of companies to identify, create, advance, and codify innovation management practices and develop new knowledge.  These ROR findings can be effectively used in R&D leaders' organizations and can be spread through the IRI membership.


For ROR co-chairs in particular, their experience with their working group will allow them to participate in the development of best practices, to develop new knowledge relevant to their company and/or role, and to gain perspective on their subject matter and beyond.  This is in addition to the networking opportunities that will arise and the chances to establish new professional relationships.  Basically, if it is the right project, it will really help and make a co-chair's day job. 


We gratefully acknowledge the leadership efforts of the ROR working group chairs and the ROR Leadership Team. The ROR Leadership Team, Sue Burek (Newell Rubbermaid) (Chair), Darin Latimer (Danaher) (Chair Elect), Stewart Mehlman (EAG), Natalie Schoch (Kellogg), Norman Golm (Regal Beloit Corporation) and Mike Blackburn (Cargill, Incorporated) (ROR vice Chairs), are working to improve ROR operations and ensure a healthy portfolio of open projects.



Participation in ROR working groups is only available to IRI members. Members are encouraged to join and to consider beginning new working groups as well. If you are a non-member, but are interested in joining an ROR group as a Subject Matter Expert, please email Lee Green. Your list of expertise and your name will be added to the SME database for new groups to utilize.

For more information or if you or a colleague are interested in participating in a working group, please contact Lee Green, at or 703-647-2597.


Current ROR Working Groups

Weak Ties & Innovation

Pragmatic Analytics for Managing Project Risks

Pursuing Whitespace Opportunities

Managing Remotely

Innovation Culture

IRI 2038 Futures Study

Lean Start-Up in Large Organizations