Innovation Research Interchange (formerly the Industrial Research Institute) is an inclusive membership organization with hundreds of 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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Questions? Contact information@iriweb.org or call (703) 647-2580.


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


Leadership Opportunities

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 Tianna Lewis

Awards Committee: selects the recipients of the IRI Medal and the IRI Achievement Award for approval by the Board.

Board of Editors: oversees the publication the Research-Technology Management (RTM) journal and selects the recipient(s) of the Maurice Holland Award.

Emeriti and Federal Lab Activity Groups (EAG &FLAG): Members of these groups can serve leadership positions of their group and support the association in many activities by leveraging the special expertise and talents of the Emeriti and Federal Lab  members.

IRIS Support Network: collaborates with IRI staff to build IRIS (Innovation Resources, Insights and Solutions) into a sustainable concierge service providing significant value for membership. Advise and develop new tools and services to facilitate networking and benchmarking amongst IRI members.

Networks Leadership Committee: assists in Networks conference programming and the growth of Networks participation. Must be a chair of a Network to qualify to serve on this Committee.

Nominating Committee:helps establish the leadership of IRI by soliciting nominations for Vice Chairman and new members of the Board of Directors and compiling the annual slate of candidates. Must have previously served on an IRI committee.

Peer Reviewers – supports Research-Technology Management Board of Editors in journal editorial decisions and helps shape manuscript revisions through detailed feedback and an active interest in innovation management best practices. 

PILOT Steering Committee: (formerly the Knowledge Leadership Team) helps in activities that advance the understanding of best practices in innovation management; improves the operational or individual learning or membership by benchmarking current best practices and studying ways to build on these practices in the future.

Program Committee: organizes and supervises the program for the Annual Conference; establishing the theme and suggesting content providers in order to create the world’s leading conference on innovation leadership.

TRACK Advisory Board: advises and assists TRACK (Training Resources to Advance Competencies & Knowledge) staff in fully developing a value proposition aimed at improving the function of innovation teams, from allying with new partners, creating new content or managing our self-directed learning platform. This group is responsible for creating new and sustained value in the area of professional development