NACD - National Association of Corporate Directors

NACD & BlackRock Call for Papers in Corporate Governance

Please note the submission period is now closed.

Your Chance to Impact How the World Conducts Business

To encourage thought leadership, develop the next generation of corporate leaders, and apply the latest in academic theory to business practice, BlackRock and the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) invite students (undergraduate and graduate) and governance practitioners to submit original papers* focused on broad, disruptive forces that are likely to impact boardrooms over the next decade.

Papers should address how boards and investors can respond in new and innovative ways to global disruptors: economic, geopolitical, competitive, technological, social/demographic, innovation, and environmental.

These external forces are also a focus of NACD Directorship 2020TM, a multi-year initiative designed to identify the resources and performance requirements of boards and directors over the next decade.

Papers are evaluated across two categories, with the following awards:

  • Academic student submission (currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree program): $5,000
  • Governance practitioner submission (not actively enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree program): $5,000

Winners will be recognized at the NACD Spring Forum in 2015.

Evaluation Criteria

  • The intended audience for the papers is the community of corporate directors, executives, and institutional investors. The papers are intended to promote practical application of academic research and theory regarding the relationship between institutional investors and boards of directors on emerging issues facing these constituencies. Winners will be chosen based on the ability to implement the ideas presented into business practice.
  • Key considerations that the evaluation committee will use in their evaluation of the papers include: practicality, usefulness, applicability, materiality, strength in substantiation, innovation, originality, creativity, and academic soundness.
  • Submissions may be sector/industry specific, or general. Please denote if there are sector-specific considerations in your submission.
  • The idea presented may be applicable to all investors, either retail or institutional. If the idea is intended for one particular type of investor, please explain within the paper.
  • Papers should not exceed 10,000 words.
  • Authors shall provide a word count at the end of the paper.
  • Note: Shorter papers are encouraged. The length of the paper is less important than the ability of the ideas being presented to be applied into business practice.

Important Dates

  • Abstract Submission 
    • Submissions are closed.
    • Abstract requirements: 500-word maximum, include title, author’s(s’) name, contact information, category (undergraduate student, graduate student, or practitioner), and academic affiliation, if applicable.
    • Abstracts should be submitted via e-mail to
  • Abstract Selection
    • The evaluation committee will select the most promising abstracts and notify the authors that they are being requested to submit full papers.
    • Authors will be notified in July 2014.
    • Final papers are due by September 30, 2014, and should be submitted via email to
  • Winning Paper Notification
    • The evaluation committee will recommend winners to the Academic Advisory Council for final review, followed by notifications to the authors.
    • The authors of the winning paper will be notified by January 31, 2015.

Program Evaluation Committee

  • Chair, Myron T. Steele, Partner, Potter, Anderson, and Corroon; former chief justice, Supreme Court of Delaware
  • Holly Gregory, Partner, Sidley Austin 
  • James P. Hawley, Professor and Director, Elfenworks Center for the Study of Fiduciary Capitalism, Saint Mary’s College of California 
  • Reatha Clark King, Director, Allina Hospital Corporation and NACD Board of Directors Chair
  • Ed Merino, Director, NACD, Southern California Chapter 
  • Douglas Park, Director, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
  • Andrea Robinson, Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary, Amgen 
  • Chad Spitler, Managing Director, Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment, BlackRock

Academic Advisory Council

  • Duke Bristow, University of Southern California 
  • Stephen Davis, Harvard University 
  • Charles Elson, University of Delaware 
  • Joe Grundfest, Stanford University 
  • Jay Lorsch, Harvard University 
  • Ed Waitzer, York University 

» Read the abstract of the 2013 winning paper here.

» Read the 2013 winning paper.

*A paper that has been accepted for publication, or is scheduled to be published in the proceedings of a professional association, is eligible if it will not be published prior to September 30 of the submission year. A paper that has been submitted to a journal, but has not yet been accepted, is eligible. Similarly, if a paper has been presented to a professional association meeting, but is not to be published in its proceedings, then the paper is eligible.

** Corporate Governance, Responsible Investment, Sustainable Investing or Socially Responsible Investing are terms often used interchangeably and with a variety of definitions.