Innovation Research Interchange (formerly the Industrial Research Institute) is an inclusive membership organization with nearly 200 global members in private-sector companies and federally funded laboratories. Founded in 1938, we lead and advance the field of innovation management by creating contemporary practices. Some of the world’s most widely adopted models – such as “open innovation,” “front end of innovation,” and “stage-gate” – were born from the work of our members. We value strength in cooperation and partner with other organizations at the forefront of developments in innovation management, creating a hub for all to convene and contribute in an experimental, noncompetitive, and noncommercial environment.
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Fourteen companies comprised the original membership of IRI when it was formed in 1938, under the auspices of the National Research Council (NRC). Four of these companies retain membership today: Colgate-Palmolive Company, Procter & Gamble Company, Hercules Powder Company (now Ashland, Inc.), and UOP, LLC, formerly known as Universal Oil Products (acquired by Honeywell). Four of the first five presidents were from the six charter-member-company category.
Maurice Holland, then Director of the NRC Division of Engineering, was largely responsible for bringing together about 50 representatives from industry, government, and universities to an initial organizational meeting in February 1938 in New York City. IRI was an integral part of the National Research Council until 1945, when it separated to become a non-profit membership corporation in the State of New York. However, association with the Council continues unbroken.
At the founding meeting, several speakers stressed the need for an association of research directors---something different from the usual technical society---and that the benefits to be derived would depend on the extent of cooperation by its members. The greatest advantage, they said, would come through personal contacts with members of the group---still a major characteristic of IRI.
In more recent years, the activities of IRI have broadened considerably. IRI now offers services to the full range of innovation professionals in the United States and abroad.
In 2013, IRI celebrated its 75th anniversary with a series of events to recognize the impact of its members’ contributions to R&D and innovation in the past and look toward the future of the industry. Here you’ll find a detailed timeline featuring the history of IRI, recaps of its milestone events, and first-hand testimonials from IRI members. - See more at www.iri75.org
IRI is a membership association – it’s your association. We rely on many people to help run various aspects of the organization. There are numerous ways to get involved, from participating on a research project, belonging to a network, and also helping to provide leadership to the association. Below are a number of opportunities where members can get involved.
If you are interested in serving or learning more about what it means to participate in one of these groups please contact Erika Toman, Vice President, Member Relations.
Awards Committee: selects the recipients of the IRI Medal and the IRI Achievement Award for approval by the Board.
Board of Directors: oversees the management of IRI as the governing board and are elected by the voting representatives of the association.
Board of Editors: oversee the publications of the Interchange, primarily the Research-Technology Management (RTM) journal. The Board is also responsible for RTM article review and for selecting the recipient of the Maurice Holland Award, presented to the author of the best paper published in RTM the previous year.
IRI Spokesperson: available to speak to media on as needed basis reinforcing goals and mission of IRI in general.
IRI Growth Council: promotes membership in IRI, investigates the eligibility of new prospects and recommends to the Board those considered desirable for invitation to membership
Nominating Committee: solicits nominations for Vice Chairman and new members of the Board of Directors and determines nominees’ willingness to serve.
Program Committee: organizes and supervises the programs for the Annual Conference and acts as advisors for other programming needs.
Knowledge Leadership Team: provides leadership direction to the working groups that perform studies on various aspects of the research process
Voice of the Member Committee: Review and assess IRI membership needs and recommend programs and projects that meet pressing member needs.