Materials Genome Initiative Turns Three, Continues Path to Revitalize American Manufacturing

This week marks the third anniversary of the launch by President Obama of the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI)—a commitment to work across sectors toward the goal of doubling the pace of advanced materials discovery, innovation, manufacture, and commercialization. The MGI is part of a broad Administration-wide commitment—including new steps announced earlier this week—to take concrete actions that spur innovation and entrepreneurship to revitalize American manufacturing.

The Obama Administration is expanding Federal investment in the Materials Genome Initiative to ensure U.S. leadership in inventing and manufacturing advanced materials, including an investment by five Federal agencies of more than $150 million in ground-breaking research to support the MGI.

In addition, today the Administration is announcing a series of new commitments from within and outside Government to continue the momentum of the MGI as it enters its fourth year. New commitments include:

  • The National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on the Materials Genome Initiative is this week releasing for public comment a draft of its first strategic plan, to serve as an roadmap for Federal agencies as they execute on the MGI vision going forward. You can read the draft plan HERE.
  • A consortium of research universities, national laboratories, and academic publishers is announcing their intention to establish a Materials Data Facility Pilot as part of the National Data Service (NDS) with the goal of boosting data access and sharing. In addition, a number of universities and companies engaged in high throughput combinatorial techniques are committing to new steps to open up data from their facilities and research activities.
  • The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) is establishing a new MGI Ambassador program to deploy a network of 10 leaders across the country who are well versed in the principles of MGI who will serve as regional points of contact for MGI-related engagements, events, or inquiries;
  • And many more—see the full set of new commitments HERE.

Since the MGI’s launch in 2011, the Federal Government has invested over $250 million in new R&D and innovation infrastructure that will help anchor emerging industrial sectors in the United States that depend on advanced materials. This infrastructure promises to accelerate the development of new high-tech materials that can help address a broad range of national goals diverse domains such as energy, health, transportation, food and agriculture, and national defense. Early milestones for the MGI include:

  • A $25 million multi-stakeholder NIST Center of Excellence, focusing on the development of industrially ready advanced materials in emerging fields such as self-assembled biomaterials, organic photovoltaic materials, advanced ceramics, and novel polymer and metal alloys for structural applications;
  • Support from DOD, DOE and NSF for more than 500 research scientists across 200 companies, universities, and national labs who are defining the cutting edge in materials innovation, developing new tools in computation and instrumentation, and engaging in innovative research to compress the time it takes deploy new materials to market; and
  • The launch of three new manufacturing institutes—America Makes, the Lightweight and Modern Metals Innovation Institute, and Next Generation Power Electronics—as well as the new DOE Critical Materials Institute which will all include the pursuit of MGI principals in a public-private-partnership context.

We are thrilled with the progress of the MGI in its first three years and excited to see what new developments and advances are over the horizon.

Read a full list of new MGI commitments being announced today, HERE.

Cyrus Wadia is Assistant Director, Clean Energy and Materials R&D at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.

Meredith Drosback is an AAAS Fellow at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.

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