Support Grows for President Obama’s Materials Genome Initiative

During his June 24 speech on advanced manufacturing, President Obama unveiled the Materials Genome Initiative for Global Competitiveness (MGI), an ambitious new plan to double the speed with which the United States discovers, develops, and manufactures new materials.  Since then, a growing number of companies, communities, universities, national labs, and scientific societies have made concrete commitments in support of the MGI.  Below are some of the commitments that have been made.  If you want to get involved, please send a note to mgi@ostp.gov.

The University of Connecticut makes the Materials Genome a focus of $170 Million Technology Park

In October, the University of Connecticut and the State of Connecticut announced its plans to invest $170 million into advanced materials and the MGI, which will include an inaugural facility named the Collaboratory for Materials & Manufacturing. Activity in this new facility will include: discovery of new materials and processes, advanced modeling and simulation tool development, applying advanced informatics to accelerate development, new techniques in education and workforce training, an industry researcher in residence program, and collaborations with manufacturing partners.

Professional societies representing 670,000 members sign letter of support to President Obama

A key goal of the MGI is cross-industry and multi-disciplinary collaboration. Demonstrating a willingness of different communities to join forces and “foster development of standards and create forums for collaboration and breakthrough to support and advance” MGI, 11 professional societies representing over 670,000 scientists and engineers co-signed a letter to the President.  These signatories were: The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, Materials Research Society, American Physical Society, The American Ceramic Society, ASM International, SAE International, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, American Society for Civil Engineers, Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering, and the American Chemical Society.

MIT and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab opening public database with over 15,000 materials

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab recently announced the Materials Project, an approach to materials science inspired by genomics. Researchers are using supercomputers to characterize the properties of inorganic compounds. The results will be organized into a database with a user-friendly web interface that gives all researchers free and easy access and searching. Today the database includes 15,000 inorganic compounds, and up to hundreds more are added every day.

University of Michigan pledges $30 million over the next five years

In support of the MGI, University of Michigan is committing to invest $30 million over the next five years in activity that includes: the establishment of an Institute of Computation in Science and Engineering, new high performance computing resources, a center for industry, government, and academia to jointly develop and optimize manufacturing processing and a new summer materials education school.

Mapping the Materials Genome

Iowa State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Ames Laboratory, in partnership with a network of universities and industrial partners, will be initiating a series of workshops starting in 2012 called “Mapping the Materials Genome”. These meetings are focused on identifying the critical research challenges and establishing the experimental and computational techniques by which the “Materials Genome” can in fact be realized.  Activities will also include short courses and educational materials  to  establish a  network for training the scientific workforce with  the skills in “Materials Genomics”.

Tom Kalil is Deputy Director for Policy at OSTP and Cyrus Wadia is Assistant Director for Clean Energy and Materials R&D.

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