The Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center (MATRIC) is an independent, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) corporation located at the former world research headquarters of Union Carbide in South Charleston, West Virginia. Carbide, a homegrown West Virginia company, became a world leader in the chemical industry and created a research and development complex that consists of 650 acres and various facilities from office buildings, laboratories, and pilot plants to sites ready for new construction.
It was this first-rate research facility that brought a number of PhD-level researchers and other highly trained scientists and chemists to the community to develop, test, and commercialize many of the processes that dramatically changed or influenced the petrochemical industry worldwide.
In 2001, the Dow Chemical Company acquired Union Carbide and moved much of its research and development work to other locations, such as Michigan and Texas. More than 150 doctorate-level researchers and approximately 900 other degreed staff were released in the four years following the merger. Among them were world-class scientists with a wealth of experience in creating new and innovative technologies. The potential for local brain drain was more than a negligible concern. Yet under the creative leadership of Dr. George Keller and other local business leaders, this concern generated a vision for MATRIC, a multi-disciplinary nonprofit research and development center built on the facilities and intellectual capital available in the geographical area.
From its inception in 2003, MATRIC’s unstated purpose has been to extend the history of innovation that occurred in West Virginia’s Chemical Valley. In fact, a large part of MATRIC’s culture of innovation stems from the desire of our staff to make a difference in the world and to leave behind a legacy of achievement for future generations to build upon. Evidence of this legacy can be illustrated by the number of new patents based on our research that have been filed in the last few years. From 2008 to 2011, MATRIC staff were listed as inventors on 89 patent applications, 65 for customers and 24 for MATRIC developed technologies.
Today, MATRIC is a strategic innovation partner to industry with customers on six continents. The depth of MATRIC’s expertise in chemical product research, product development, process improvement, process safety, engineering and manufacturing is not unique in and of each element, but rather because all these disciplines are concentrated in one organization. It is this anomaly that sets MATRIC apart from its competitors. A company might have to interact with five or more service providers to obtain a similar level of expertise. Applying this broad perspective enables MATRIC to move products from concept to commercialization at a speed that creates a competitive advantage for our customers.