News & Trends

aug13

news & trends New projects worth millions announced on Materials Genome Initiative second anniversary The Materials Genome Initiative turned two in June, and the White House celebrated the occasion by announcing a flurry of new projects that involve sizeable investments from 20 or so collaborators. According to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which oversees the MGI, these are new commitments from universities, federal agencies, industry, and professional societies. The value of the new commitments is not clear, but OSTP says in its fact sheet, “What started out as a modest investment of approximately $63 million involving just four Federal agencies in 2012 has grown into a multistakeholder endeavor valued at hundreds of millions of dollars …” The OSTP is calling them “commitments,” rather than projects, probably because the projects seem to be layers of partnerships. For example, the University of Wisconsin has plans to work with Argonne National Laboratory, CAMECA, and, according to its website, “UW-Madison, the University of Michigan, and Georgia Tech together will begin dialog to begin building a nationwide network for materials innovation.” OSTP says the new projects build on the foundation laid by the five federal agencies that embraced MGI early on—the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, DOD, DOE, and NASA. Some of these agencies have made very large commitments already— for example, the Army Research Laboratory’s Enterprise for Multiscale Research of Materials program, which we reported on in the March 2013 ACerS Bulletin. The ARL program is worth up to $120 million over 10 years. A long time in the planning, the Enterprise’s vision for designing materials from fundamental principles arguably played a large role in developing the ideas that would eventually spawn the Materials Genome Initiative. Federal agencies announced significant The US Materials Genome Initiative. new investments, most of which are interagency partnerships including the five agencies mentioned already, DARPA, and the US Army. There is at least one interesting new MGI participant mentioned in the fact sheet. The Smithsonian Associates—the education arm of the Smithsonian Institution— plans to produce a program on the history of advanced materials and their development for fall 2013. A new initiative at NIST will commit $25 million over five years to form a Center of Excellence on Advanced Materials, while the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Georgia Institute of Technology are creating new institutes in materials innovation with collective investments totaling approximately $15 million. The University of Michigan has committed to invest an additional $20 million in MGI programs already underway, and all three universities will partner to begin work toward building a nationwide materials innovation accelerator network to better connect with other centers, institutes, future efforts, and MGI-related activity. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Intermolecular Inc. (San Jose, Calif.) will work together to more accurately predict material behavior with software tools made openly available by LBNL. Building on data from existing high-throughput combinatorial experimentation and simulation, researchers anticipate a set of tools that could increase the pace of new materials development 10-fold or more over conventional approaches. Harvard University and IBM are releasing a freely available and open database describing 2.3 million new materials for potential use in solar cells—the largest open-access effort of its kind. Finally, building on pledges made by more than 60 companies and universities last year to advance the MGI, seven more academic institutions and a software company are announcing new educational efforts that include curriculum development, new graduate degrees, and research opportunities. An American Ceramic Society Bulletin, Vol. 92, No. 6 | www.ceramics.org 3 (Credit: The White House.)


aug13
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