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Two Years Later, Bold New Steps for the Materials Genome Initiative

Summary: 
Two years ago today, President Obama launched the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI), a collaborative endeavor of the public and private sectors designed to double the pace of innovation, manufacture, and deployment of high-tech materials in America.Today, universities, companies, Federal agencies, and other partners announced more than twenty new commitments to kick-start an ambitious third year for the MGI.

Two years ago today, President Obama launched the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI), a collaborative endeavor of the public and private sectors designed to double the pace of innovation, manufacture, and deployment of high-tech materials in America.

During its first two years, the MGI has come a long way. What started out as a modest investment of roughly $63 million by four Federal agencies has since expanded into a multi-stakeholder endeavor valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars and involving universities, companies, professional societies, and scientists and engineers from across the country—all working together to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the realm of materials science and innovation. 

Today, universities, companies, Federal agencies, and other materials science stakeholders announced more than twenty new commitments to kick-start an ambitious third year for the MGI, including:

  • The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is committing $25 million over 5 years to form a Center of Excellence on Advanced Materials.
  • The University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the Georgia Institute of Technology are creating new Institutes in materials innovation with collective investments totaling roughly $15 million, and will join with the University of Michigan to launch a materials innovation accelerator network
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Intermolecular, Inc., are working together to better predict materials behavior with software tools made openly available by LBNL to thousands of users.
  • 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; and
  • MIT is launching a new massive open online course (MOOC) focusing on innovation and commercialization with new materials, and half-a-dozen other institutions are announcing new educational efforts around the MGI that include curricula development, new graduate degrees, and research opportunities.

The materials community is mobilizing.

Building on two years of progress for the MGI and the exciting new commitments announced today, we’re on our way to cutting in half the time it takes to develop new materials that can fuel advanced manufacturing for a 21st century American economy.

To share your ideas or learn more about the MGI, please contact us at mgi@ostp.gov

Tom Kalil is Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at OSTP

Cyrus Wadia is Assistant Director for Clean Energy and Materials R&D at OSTP