Tech to launch new Institute

On June 24, the second anniversary of President Barack Obama’s launch of the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI), The White House announced more than 20 commitments to continue to support MGI goals. With Tech being one of the largest materials research universities, it has been included along with the University of Wisconsin and Madison in the White Houses commitments in “Universities to build a materials innovation accelerator network.”

This commitment results in Tech “creating new Institutes in materials innovation with collective investments totaling approximately $15 million,” according to a White House press release. In partnership with the other universities, Tech will launch a nationwide dialogue to begin work toward building a nationwide materials innovation accelerator network to better connect with other centers, institutes, future efforts and MGI-related activity.

The primary goal of the MGI is to foster greater collaboration across the entire advanced materials workforce which includes federal agencies, industry, professional societies and academia. The new Institute for Materials (IMat), will be an interdisciplinary research institute which will aim to encourage a materials innovation ecosystem for research and education. For Tech specifically, IMat will be a part of a $10 million effort over the next five years towards building open space to share materials innovation research and information.

“Given the vision of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering and the Materials Genome Initiative, the Institute for Materials has an exciting opportunity to link emerging capabilities in materials design and development with advances in U.S. Manufacturing,” said David McDowell, founding executive director of IMat.

IMat is focusing on four internal initiatives which line up with those commitments outlined by the White House to advance the goals of materials research around the country. One initiative is the creation of an exploratory next generation materials collaboration hub called matIN which is targeted for an initial release in fall of 2013.

A second initiative is accelerating discovery and development which requires interdisciplinary collaboration as well as strategic linkages between academic institutions, government and industry.

Another internal initiative is creating the workforce of the future.

The last internal initiative is advancing materials innovation to address grand challenges which involves addressing the major technologies that can improve our lives in the future.

“Inevitably, solutions to the most pressing grand challenges of the coming decades hinge on new and improved materials,” McDowell said. “Use-inspired research gives rise to innovative products made from these materials that enhance the quality of everyday life. To this end, the innovation infrastructure envisioned by the Materials Genome Initiative calls for collaboration within and across institutions such as Georgia Tech.”