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National Experts to Discuss Materials Genome Initiative at Special MS&T 2011 Session
By Lynne Robinson

News Article Image Posted on: 09/23/2011
Launching “a new era of materials innovation” by creating an opportunity “to discover develop, manufacture, and deploy advanced materials at least twice as fast as possible today, at a fraction of the cost” are key elements of the vision that underpins the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI), unveiled by President Barack Obama on June 24 as part of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. Materials Science and Technology 2011 Conference (MS&T 2011) attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the efforts underway to accomplish these ambitious goals from the experts who are leading them at a special session organized by the MS&T 2011 conference partners. The program will take place on Monday, October 17 from 2-3:20 pm in Ballrooms 1 and 2 of the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Cyrus Wadia
Cyrus Wadia, assistant director for Clean Energy and Materials Research and Development, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, will present the session’s keynote—The National Materials Genome Initiative: A White House-Led Strategy on Advanced Materials Manufacturing. He will discuss how the MGI will address the current long timeframes for incorporating advanced materials into practice by creating a new materials innovation infrastructure, driving achievement of national goals with advanced materials, and preparing the next-generation materials workforce. He will also describe interagency and White House roles in this multi-stakeholder effort.

Wadia advises the Executive Office of the President on federal policy that accelerates innovation and deployment of advanced material systems for energy, national security, and human welfare. He is currently on leave from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Walter A. Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, where he holds a dual appointment as research scientist and faculty and co-director of Cleantech to Market, a partnership of students, scientists, and professionals based at the Energy Institute at Haas that focuses on translating research into market opportunities. Wadia earned his Ph.D. in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley, and received both his master’s and undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Julie Christodoulou
Julie Christodoulou, director of the Naval Materials Division, Office of Naval Research (ONR), will discuss Challenges and Opportunities Presented by the Materials Genome Initiative. Christodoulou will review how the MGI is the result of a series of efforts that have gradually moved materials science into the digital age, concurrently accelerating development and application of materials. Her talk will briefly describe some of the efforts forming the MGI’s foundation, and discuss the fundamental challenges uncovered in that journey that remain to be addressed. She will also introduce research and engineering activities being undertaken by the Department of Defense that will both build and challenge the materials innovation infrastructure at the heart of MGI, while enabling national security goals to be met.

Christodoulou serves as the senior focal point within the ONR for the chemical and physical sciences, materials and processing, and environmental quality that enable enhanced performance, affordability, and reliability for future and legacy Navy and Marine Corps systems and platforms. In this capacity, she oversees research and development of functional and structural materials and processing from the atomic and molecular level to engineered materials systems. Trained as a physical metallurgist, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, El Paso, a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, and her Ph.D. from Imperial College, London.

Steven H. McKnight
Ian M. Robertson
Finally, National Science Foundation (NSF) Perspective on the Materials Genome Initiative, will be presented by Steven H. McKnight and Ian M. Robertson. The MGI recognizes the importance of materials science to the well-being and advancement of society and seeks to integrate all components in the materials continuum, including materials discovery, development, property optimization, systems design and optimization, certification, manufacturing and deployment, with each employing the toolset developed within the materials innovation infrastructure. In this broader context, the NSF anticipates several exciting basic research opportunities to realize the vision of the MGI. The complexity and challenge of activities addressed by this initiative will require a transformative approach to the discovery and development of new materials and optimization and/or prediction of properties of materials, as well as informing the design of material systems. Success in the initiative requires a collaborative, synergistic approach between theory, computation, and experiments. Computation will guide experiments and theory, while experiments and theory will advance computation. In this talk, these opportunities and challenges, as well as the role of NSF in the MGI, will be described.

McKnight has served as director, Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation Division, Directorate for Engineering, at the NSF since August 2009. Before joining NSF, McKnight led the Army Research Laboratory’s Materials Division, where he served as the Army's primary representative on agency, interagency, and international materials research coordination and advisory groups. He earned his undergraduate degree in materials engineering from Virginia Tech and his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Delaware.

Robertson is director, Division of Materials Research at NSF and is a Donald B. Willett Professor of Engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also the editor-in-chief of the review journal, Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science. He received a B.Sc. degree (first class) in applied physics from Strathclyde University, Glasgow, Scotland, and his D.Phil in metallurgy from the University of Oxford.

The MGI will specifically support the development of computational tools, software, new methods for material characterization, and the development of standards and digital databases that will make the process of discovery and development of advanced materials faster, less expensive, and more predictable. Central to its efforts is collaboration of all contributors in the materials development community in the up-front planning and execution—from experimental and theoretical scientists conducting basic research to industrial engineers qualifying and implementing new material products for the marketplace—and spanning academic institutions, small businesses, large industrial enterprises, professional societies, and government.

The vision and goals of the MGI are presented in the white paper, Materials Genome Initiative for Global Competitiveness, published by the National Science and Technology Council. Visit the new TMS Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation website for additional background information on the MGI, including access to the white paper.


In related news, TMS and the Materials Research Society (MRS) co-sponsored Accelerating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation for Global Competitiveness, an informational luncheon held on August 3 in Washington D.C. for a contingent of about 60 congressional, academic, federal agency, and industrial representatives.

The purpose of the forum was to introduce ways to produce advances in materials and manufacturing development that can strengthen competitiveness, create jobs, and improve the overall quality of life. The acceleration of materials development and implementation was conceptualized in the Materials Genome Initiative announced by President Barack Obama in June.

Speaking at the luncheon were (left to right) James Roberto, Kevin Hemker, and John Allison. (Click on image to enlarge.)
Event moderator Kevin Hemker, chair of the TMS Public and Government Affairs Committee, pointed to the historical trend toward economic renewal through cutting edge materials. “Jobs depend on the economy. A robust economic recovery needs manufacturing innovation to increase global competitiveness and materials innovation to invent new economies,” he said.

Calling on his background working in the manufacturing sector, 2002 TMS President and speaker John Allison, University of Michigan, spoke on Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME): The Next Big Thing. “The global economy requires efficient engineering, manufacturing, and research and development. Innovations in materials and tight coupling of component design, materials, and manufacturing have been key sources of industrial competitiveness,” he said.

The forum’s second speaker, James Roberto, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, discussed Computational Materials Science for Innovation, noting that materials development is the common thread in advanced technologies. “Computational materials science, combined with experiment, can revolutionize the development and deployment of new materials,” he said.

Webcasts of each of the presentations from the event can be downloaded from the TMS Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation website.

Lynne Robinson is a news and feature writer with TMS.

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