PDMA Dissertation Proposal Competition


The Product Development and Management Association announces its 2020 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Competition; Deadline 25 May 2020

Author: Anna Shaojie Cui


Competition Co-Chairs

Anna Cui (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Gary Frankwick (University of Texas at El Paso)

The Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) announces its call for the 2020 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Competition. The aim of the competition is to support doctoral students to develop original and impactful research on innovation and new product/service development.


Three winners will be selected. Winners of the competition will receive the following:

First place: $3000 cash prize. In addition to cash prizes, first-place winner will also receive:

An additional $1,000 towards travelling costs to attend the 2020 PDMA conference

Free registration to the 2020 PDMA conference ($750 value)

A 1-year membership to the PDMA, which includes subscription to the Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM)

Opportunity to use the PDMA membership to collect data

Invitation to present dissertation research at the 2020 PDMA conference

    The prizes together represent over $5000 dollars of value

Second place: $2000 cash prize

Third place: $1000 cash prize

The winners are required to present their dissertation research at the 2020 PDMA conference


Dissertation proposals must be either in the process of approval or be already approved by the student’s dissertation chair or committee. Where Ph.D. programs do not require a formal proposal approval, the student’s academic supervisor (Professor) should confirm that the final outline of the dissertation research (theoretically and empirically) is well established.

The grant from the competition is intended to support the recipient’s dissertation research. Thus, only dissertations that will be completed no sooner than within the next year are eligible to be submitted to the competition. Fully completed dissertations are not eligible.

The dissertation research should be on a topic related to innovation and/or new product/service development. It can examine any aspect of innovation and can take a broad range of perspectives such as the market, organization, team, manager, or consumer. Topics include but not limited to:

Design and development of new products, services, and processes

Innovation adoption, commercialization, and diffusion

Business model innovation

B-to-B innovation

Ethical, responsible, and social Innovation

Open innovation and innovation Eco-Systems

Digital innovation and emerging technologies {e.g. big data & AI, human computer interactions (HCI), blockchain, robotics etc.}

Interfaces between innovation and other disciplines such as strategy, organization, teams, entrepreneurship, finance, operations, and talent Management

Industry-specific innovation studies (e.g., innovation in healthcare, education, energy, and other industries)

Applicants that are unsure of the suitability of their research topics for this competition may find it helpful to consult recent issues of JPIM and are welcome to contact the competition co-chairs.


The application package must include the following:

A one-page, single-spaced executive summary of the proposed dissertation research, clearly stating the dissertation title, research questions, method, and expected contributions. This executive summary also needs to include a statement regarding how the monetary award would be spent to help complete the dissertation,

A title page with all contact details,

A blind proposal document, not exceeding 15 pages in length, consisting of the following sections: introduction, conceptual background, hypotheses/conceptual model, method, theoretical contribution, and implications for innovation practitioners. If the dissertation consists of multiple essays, please include a section on the overarching theoretical framework, research objectives and contributions. The 15-page limit also includes references, figures, and tables. It should be double- spaced and in 12-point font, with a 1” margin on all sides. The proposal document should follow the guidelines for authors submitting to JPIM),

A letter from the student’s committee chair or department head in support of the submission.

An up-to-date Curriculum Vitae (including a list of all completed doctoral coursework).

The proposal packet should be submitted electronically here (https://uic.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1Akt0LRIgs2084J). The proposal document should be uploaded as a Word document; all other files may be either Word or pdf documents. Please name all files using last name followed by document title. For instance, “Gonzalez_Exec_Summary.docx”.

To be considered, all application materials must be received by May 25, 2020, 12am CET.


Proposals will be evaluated in a double-blind review process by leading scholars in innovation and new product/service development. Reviewers will judge the proposals against traditional academic standards and the feasibility of completion. The winners will be announced in July 2020.

For questions, please contact competition co-chairs Anna Cui (ascui@uic.edu) and Gary Frankwick (glfrankwick@utep.edu).