Recorded Presentations


Global R&D Trends—Implications for Material Sciences

TMS 2013 Annual Meeting & Exhibition 
March 5, 2013 • San Antonio, Texas 

Human progress has largely been defined by the materials that form the basis of transformative technologies. In the last century, investments in research and development (R&D) have been critical to ensuring the deployment of new materials required for the advancement of solutions to the world's most pressing needs, with R&D support considered a leading indicator of a nation's innovative capacity and a precursor to its future growth, productivity, and sustainability.

Exploring the connections between fundamental R&D and materials science, within the context of a complex and often volatile global economy, was the focus of "Global R&D Trends—Implications for Material Sciences," a symposium organized to honor the accomplishments of Jeffrey Wadsworth, the 2013 Acta Materialia Materials and Society Award winner. Presentations are available in PDF format.

"The Evolving R&D Model: International Trends and U.S. Competitiveness"

Jeffrey Wadsworth, President and Chief Executive Officer, Battelle Memorial Institute 

Since at least the 17th century, innovations in materials sciences have been critical to solving complex national security, health, and energy problems—including the nexus between these areas. During the next 50 years, there is compelling evidence that there will be unprecedented demographic and economic changes as the global population increases from 7 to 9 billion. The addition of these two billion people will strain an already tight supply of food, water, and energy and create new national security and health-related issues. There is no simple solution to these challenges, so countries around the world are aggressively investing in R&D, education, and infrastructure initiatives. Material sciences will play a leading role in overcoming these challenges, but in order to do so there needs to be a renewed emphasis on scientific discovery and leadership, global R&D collaboration, and the ability to adapt to an increasingly dynamic marketplace. Examples of potential approaches are discussed.

"Prospects and Challenges for a Global Expansion of Nuclear Energy"

Siegfried S. Hecker, Co-Director, Center for International Security and Cooperation and Professor, Department of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University; Emeritus Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory 

Nuclear energy holds the potential of a sustainable, affordable, and clean source of energy available on a scale that can help meet the world's growing need for energy and slow the pace of global climate change. However, the Fukushima accident was a grim reminder of the importance of nuclear safety. Nuclear energy must also be economically competitive, a great challenge in the United States where the cost of reactor construction has skyrocketed and gas and oil supplies are expanding rapidly because of hydraulic fracturing technologies. Small modular reactors (SMRs) may hold the best hope for the U.S. reactor industry. SMRs also offer significant opportunities for materials industries and materials research and development. The nuclear industry must also find a socially acceptable waste disposal option. Most of the global nuclear reactor demand comes from developing countries. China and India have ambitious plans and programs underway. Several dozen additional countries have expressed interest in developing nuclear power, but most of them lack the technical and regulatory expertise for such an expansion. Providing safe and secure nuclear power in such countries will be challenging, as will be the additional strain that a global spread of nuclear power will put on the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

"Linking the Challenges of Materials Technology with Opportunities in Materials Research"

William D. Nix, Professor Emeritus, Lee Otterson Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University 

The story of how the field of thin film and small-scale mechanical behavior developed in response to problems being faced in microelectronics is recounted. More important than solving the particular problems being faced was the recognition that new tools and techniques would be needed to address challenges in that technology in the long run. Along the way, tools and methods were developed that are now used routinely to advance completely new materials technologies. This development involved not only the identification of critical problems, but also the recognition that existing or newly emerging capabilities could be used to address those problems. Nanoindentation, substrate curvature stress measurements, and all sorts of thin film and small-scale mechanical testing methods were developed in response to these needs and have turned out to be useful in other materials developments. In addition, the application of elementary analysis methods has proven to be useful in understanding thin film mechanical behavior. Applying Ashby's geometrically necessary dislocation density concept to indentation, using van der Merwe's misfit dislocation analysis to describe plasticity of thin metal films, and applying Griffith's crack analysis to understand intrinsic tensile stresses in polycrystalline thin films, are all examples of applying existing knowledge to the solution of newly developing problems. An example of exploiting a new opportunity was Uchic's realization that the focused ion beam instrument could be used to develop a new method for studying the mechanical properties of materials at a small scale. Finally, the emergence of lithium-ion batteries and the need for better electrodes have provided still another set of challenges that are motivating new research. Some of this ongoing research will surely contribute to the development of better and longer-lasting lithium-ion batteries to power our electronic devices and our vehicles.

"Innovation in the New Era of Global Science and Engineering

Subra Suresh, Director, National Science Foundation 

This presentation will highlight major trends influencing the evolution of science and engineering research and education on the global stage. Challenges and opportunities faced by national funding agencies, academic institutions, research laboratories, and industry will be examined. Discussion will also include issues of the borderless knowledge enterprise, shifting demographics, and global challenges that require collective effort amid stiff competition, while responding to local and national needs, fiscal constraints, and regional regulations.

"Research and Development—The Key to Competitiveness in the 21st Century" 

This presentation is not available for download but was delivered at the Global R&D Trends Symposium.

Craig R. Barrett, Retired Chief Executive Officer/Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation 

The 21st Century has been appropriately labeled the knowledge and innovation century. The key factors that make it possible for a society to succeed in this century are smart people, smart ideas, and the right environment to let the first two come together and do something wonderful and exciting. This means that quality education and continued investment in basic research and development are key success factors. Combining this with environmental factors—such as protection of intellectual property, a vibrant venture capital industry, appropriate tax and regulatory laws, and a social consciousness where the fear of failure is absent—is key for economic growth and success. Most countries around the world have recognized these success factors and are moving forward to compete. Key to these efforts is the recognition that the American Research University, with its close association to industry, is at the center of innovation. Countries around the world are trying to copy this American gem while also creating the right environment for innovation. The Irish and rest of the Western Europeans are active in this area. The Russians, with their great historical emphasis on academics and research, but little experience in commercialization of research, are investing huge sums to try to recreate an MIT model in Moscow. The Chinese universities are all active in trying to remake themselves in the mode of American universities. And, throughout the rest of the world, we see more of the same. The proven model of Silicon Valley, or Route 128, has captured the imagination of the world and all are attempting to copy this success. As a result, it is no surprise to see technology incubators everywhere in the world, whether you are in Lebanon, Chile, or the Netherlands. Success is not assured for any of these approaches, but it is clear that there will be more competition for the American model than ever before.

View More 

Return to the Recorded Presentations listing to view additional presentations from TMS events.