Innovation Day 2021

Conrad Erb

September 14, 2021

On Innovation Day emerging industry leaders celebrate today’s innovations in the chemical industry and seek solutions for tomorrow’s challenges. By taking early-career scientists out of the lab and giving them broader access to their colleagues and to the historical and social context of their research, Innovation Day supports a 21st-century chemical enterprise that addresses society’s most pressing needs.

COVID-19 Policy  •   Schedule  •   Awards  •  Steering Committee   •  Sponsors

Program Overview

Cohosted with the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) since 2004, Innovation Day 2021 was a hybrid event held in person and online on September 14. In its 18th year of highlighting breakthroughs and achievement in innovation, our program continues to attract leading speakers and participation from across all sectors of the chemical enterprise.

Attendees spent the day hearing from leaders across the scientific enterprise who are actively engaged in building the foundation for the next generation. Sessions this year followed four tracks:

  • Sustainability
    Chemists, chemical engineers, and material scientists alike are focusing with greater urgency on developing more sustainable processes and products for a more sustainable planet. This session brings both industry and academia together to explore and examine the tools and techniques being developed to help assist scientists and engineers in applying, measuring, and making a more sustainable world.
  • The Role of Diversity in Innovation and the Entrepreneurial Process
    This session focuses on the common idea that team diversity unlocks innovation and drives performance. Companies with diverse employees out-innovate and out-perform their competition. Teams with members who have diverse backgrounds, genders, ages, sexual orientations, race, etc., develop more innovative and creative ideas. Panelists will discuss the issues around diversity in the workplace and how it impacts innovation and the entrepreneurial process.
  • Digitization
    The revolution in digital methods and capabilities affects almost every aspect of industry and science. Digitization has changed new product design from the collection and validation of voice-of-the-customer data to virtual experiments to rapid prototyping to manufacturing to customer experience. In this panel, we explore how traditional physical products have been enhanced with, and connected to, digital ecosystems with examples from industry leaders.
  • The New Normal
    We all have experienced profound changes in the way we work during the pandemic. What is the new normal going forward? How have chemists, chemical engineers, and material scientists adapted? How have these changes impacted innovation? In this session, we will discuss aspects of the new normal including the importance of agility, changed in work communication, and working safely in R&D environments.

COVID-19 Policy

The Science History Institute requires all Innovation Day in-person participants to provide proof of full vaccination (as defined by the CDC) against COVID-19, as well as a photo ID. Guests with no proof of vaccination will not be admitted. There will be no exceptions.

Furthermore, the Philadelphia Department of Health requires that all participants wear a mask except while actively eating or drinking during the continental breakfast, the Innovation Day luncheon, and cocktails and networking at the end of the day.

The full policy is available here.



Attire: Business/Business Casual

9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.

Digital Poster Sessions (online attendees and all poster presenters)

Poster Session Guide (PDF)

9:15 a.m.–10:00 a.m.

Check-in opens, coffee, and continental breakfast

10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

Museum opens. Innovation Day Downstream programming:

10:00 a.m. | Sustainability
10:20 a.m. | Digitization
10:40 a.m. | Diversity
11:00 a.m. | The New Normal

10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

Poster Sessions (in-person attendees and presenters)

Poster Session Guide (PDF)

11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

Innovation Day Luncheon

Menu (PDF)

12:15 p.m.–1:15 p.m.


David A. Cole, President and CEO, Science History Institute
John Paro, Chair and CEO, Hallstar, and Chair, SCI America

In-Person and Online

The Warren G. Schlinger Symposium (live streamed)

Carla Pereira, ExxonMobil, 2021 SCI Gordon E. Moore Medalist
30-minute talk followed by Q&A

1:15 p.m.–1:45 p.m.


1:45 p.m.–3:15 p.m.
In-Person and Online

Breakout Panels – Session 1

  • Sustainability

    Robert Harding, W. R. Grace & Co.
    Felicia Parks, Hallstar

    Gayle J. Bentley, Technology Manager, Bioenergy Technologies Office, U.S. Department of Energy
    Isabelle Hansenne-Cervantes, Global Product Innovation and Development R&D Executive

  • The Role of Diversity in Innovation and the Entrepreneurial Process

    Sanjeev Dey, Milliken & Company
    Daniel White, Lyondell Chemical Company

    Ndiba Dioh, Director Global Innovation – Advanced Polymer Solutions, LyondellBasell
    Cory Valente, North America Inclusion, Diversity, and Employee Experience Leader, The Dow Chemical Company

3:15 p.m.–3:30 p.m.


3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
In-Person and Online

Breakout Panels – Session 2

  • Digitization

    Nicolas Coute, ExxonMobil Chemical
    David Dean, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics

    George Rodriguez, Materials Data Science Senior Principal, ExxonMobil Chemical
    Scott H. Wasserman, Associate R&D Director/Intellectual Capital Manager, The Dow Chemical Company

  • The New Normal

    Gregory Briner, Hexion, Inc.
    Duncan Coffey, DuPont

    Alex Kline, Global HR Business Partner, and Inga Aichinger, Analytical Lab Technical Manager, DuPont Mobility & Materials
    Stacey York, Director of Materials Science Tracks, Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, University of Oregon

5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

Cocktails and Networking


SCI Gordon E. Moore Medal

The Society of Chemical Industry, America Group (SCI America), established the SCI Gordon E. Moore Medal to recognize early-career success in innovation, as reflected both in market impact and improvement to quality of life. By highlighting extraordinary individuals and their work, SCI America aims to promote public understanding of research and development in modern chemical industries, enhance the interest of students in applied chemistry by providing role models, and emphasize the role of creative research in the global economy.

The 2021 Moore Medal was awarded to Carla Pereira.


SCI Perkin Medal

The Perkin Medal was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of mauvene. Today the medal is widely acknowledged as the highest honor in American industrial chemistry. William Henry Perkin was a founding member of SCI, and this medal was first presented in New York to Perkin himself.

The 2021 Perkin Medal was awarded to Jane Frommer at a ceremony following the Innovation Day events.




Premier Sponsors
The Warren and Katharine Schlinger Foundation

Presenting Sponsors
Hexion, Inc.

Major Sponsors
ExxonMobil Chemical Company

Sustaining Sponsors
Arkema Inc.
BASF Corporation
The Chemours Company
The Dow Chemical Company
Eastman Chemical Company
W. R. Grace & Co.
Westlake Chemical

Contributing Sponsors
Air Liquide USA LLC
Milliken & Company

Steering Committee

Felicia Parks
Technical Director, North America

Daniel White
Manager, R&D Acetyls, BDO and Olefins Research
Houston Technology Center
Lyondell Chemical Company

Chris Killian
Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Eastman Chemical Company

Robert Harding
Senior Technology Advisor
W. R. Grace & Co.

Duncan Coffey
Field Engineering and Supply Chain Development Program Leader
Engineering Technology Center

Sanjeev K. Dey
Global R&D Director
Milliken & Co.

David Dean
R&D Director, Functional Polymers
Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics

Gregory Briner
NA R&D Technology Manager
Hexion, Inc.

Nicolas P. Coute
Americas Research & Operations Manager
ExxonMobil Chemical

Cohosted with the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) since 2004, Innovation Day features the Warren G. Schlinger Symposium and the awarding of the SCI Gordon E. Moore Medal.

For more information contact [email protected].