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DuPont R&D Chief Details Research Role

Restructuring: Redesign is about efficiency, he says, not eliminating science

by Alexander H. Tullo
January 6, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 2

Credit: DuPont
DuPont’s Experimental Station in Wilmington, Del.
An aerial view of DuPont’s experimental station.
Credit: DuPont
DuPont’s Experimental Station in Wilmington, Del.

Doug Muzyka, DuPont’s chief science and technology officer, says the company’s reorganization of R&D in advance of its merger with Dow Chemical does not mean an end to corporate research at DuPont. But as pink slips drop on desks at the company, it is becoming clear that Central R&D is being severely truncated.

C&EN recently reported that DuPont will replace Central Research & Development with a new organization dubbed Science & Innovation. Concurrently, DuPont will eliminate 1,700 positions in its home state of Delaware, including researchers, as part of a $700 million cost-reduction program that will cut the company’s overall workforce by 10%.

Muzyka claims recent media reports have “mischaracterized” the changes at DuPont by maintaining that “corporately funded R&D is being completely eliminated or that the cost-reduction effort at DuPont is targeting R&D.”

However, according to a tally obtained by C&EN and unconfirmed by DuPont, of the 270 people working in Central R&D, 173 were laid off last week, 63 transferred to other DuPont businesses, and 34 were left in Science & Innovation.

As part of the R&D restructuring, Muzyka says, “we are redesigning the existing Central Research & Development operating model to assess and seed new, transformational science-based ventures as the next step in the evolution of corporately funded R&D for DuPont.”

The changes, he adds, will position the company for its merger with Dow and the subsequent breakup of the new DowDuPont into three firms.

Muzyka says the cuts are the result of “careful analysis of how we can improve the overall productivity of our R&D function company-wide.”


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