Innovative Development & Expansion to Advance ACS

Send us your ideas. Make an impact!

We are always looking for ways to make ACS more relevant and useful to our members. If you have an idea for a new program--or how to improve an existing one--to help current and future chemists, we are all ears.

What are we looking for?

Innovation can come from any level of the Society. We are looking for ideas that can have a Society-wide impact and that further the ACS Strategic Goals.

We will review each New Idea Submission to determine the best path forward using a standardized process and criteria for evaluation. The proposed initiative/idea should align with ACS priorities in one or both of the following manners:

  • It should either support or be complementary to aspects of the current Society Program portfolio and Strategic Goals; and/or
  • It should offer unique advantages to ACS. 

View our proposal criteria evaluation

Need some inspiration?

While any innovative idea may be submitted, the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) has identified the following as a key opportunity for ACS: 

Enhancing trust in science, chemistry, and chemists. By highlighting the contributions of chemists in solving challenges related to environmental sustainability, human health, and other areas of global need, we can rebuild and enhance the public’s trust in science. Ideas for impactful evergreen campaigns, sustainable programs, and new or unique ways of using communication tools are sought. Programs that highlight not only the value of chemistry, but the humanity of the chemists who empower the work are preferred. 

We encourage members, at the Local, Regional, National and International level to utilize the ACS New Idea Process to submit ideas around how the American Chemical Society can leverage our resources and reputation to make an impact in this strategic focus area. 

Other examples of “good” ideas

  • New Membership Fee Structure
  • ChemLuminary Awards        
  • Establishment of ACS International Chapters        
  • Congressional Chemistry Caucus


Process #1

Find a champion!

New ideas may be submitted on a rolling basis online. All ACS Members are eligible to participate, but their proposals must be endorsed by a governance unit, such as a Local Section, Technical Division, International Chapter, Student Chapter, or Committee, which will be considered the Idea Champion. Ideas collected are distributed to a collaborative New Idea Working Group (NIWG) to review periodically. 

Process #2


Ideas will be evaluated for the breadth and depth of impact and their alignment with the ACS Strategic Goals. Feedback and transparency are an essential part of this process. The NIWG is charged with regular communication with the submitter and the Idea Champion.

Process #3

What can you expect after your idea is submitted?

  • The New Idea Working Group (NIWG) will confirm receipt. Once your submission is reviewed, you will receive feedback regarding recommended next steps and timelines.         
  • If your idea is ready to move forward into a potential pilot or requires further refinement, you will be matched with an ACS Staff Champion to provide support.


If an idea has too narrow a focus (will only help a single governance unit, or very targeted demographic) the idea will be returned to the governance unit with feedback and suggestions on where to identify alternative funding mechanisms. The New Idea process ends here for this idea. If the idea impact can be broadened to move it from a Limited Impact to a Society-Wide Impact, the NIWG may still choose to assign a Staff Champion to help the Idea Champion refine the idea further.

If the idea truly has the potential to make a broad, Society-wide impact, then the idea moves forward in the process. This team reviews the ideas submitted and prioritizes those that align with the Strategic Goals of ACS. These ideas are matched with a Staff Champion who will help scope and define the idea.

If the idea is not in alignment with the current ACS Strategic Goals, or the idea does not have sufficient detail to be adequately considered, then the idea reaches the End of Idea Lifecycle. A member of the NIWG would provide feedback to the Idea Champion to help them understand the gaps in their submission or idea focus. These ideas are considered discarded, and will not be reconsidered unless resubmitted with further refinement.

General Questions

  • Who is responsible for implementing an idea?

    The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) at ACS will help assemble a team of staff members to implement an approved idea. Idea Champions are not expected to be able to build or lead a program independently. 

  • What if my idea is not implemented, can I resubmit?

    In the event that a proposed idea is interesting but various factors impede its implementation in the short term, it can be reconsidered in the future. Idea Champions may recommend re-review of their idea on an annual basis.

  • What will not be funded?

    • Strategic Planning for individual governance units         
    • Concepts or ideas that would only impact one institution, company, or governance unit         
    • Ideas that have already been implemented internal or external to ACS         
    • Research proposals or ideas not within scope of ACS, such as setting up a unit to help alleviate the problems caused by oil spills
  • Other Funding Mechanisms at ACS

    If your idea is not in scope, there are other funding mechanisms at ACS that we recommend: 

    • Global Innovations Grants       
    • Local Sections Grants        
    • Divisions        
    • Comprehensive Grants and Awards List

Make an Impact

Ideas can come from anywhere within the Society. As an ACS Member and a chemist, you have a unique perspective and we'd like to hear from you!

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