Today, the White House hosted an event recognizing the fifth anniversary of the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI). On June 24, 2011, President Obama announced “To help businesses discover, develop, and deploy new materials twice as fast, we’re launching what we call the Materials Genome Initiative.” Over the past five years, Federal agencies, including the Departments of Energy (DOE) and Defense (DoD), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), have invested more than $500 million in resources and infrastructure in support of this initiative.
In the increasingly competitive world economy, the United States must find ways to get advanced materials into innovative products such as light-weight cars, more efficient solar cells, tougher body armor, and future spacecraft much faster and at a fraction of the cost than it has taken in the past. As outlined in the 2014 MGI Strategic Plan, the Nation needs to change the paradigm of how materials are discovered, developed, and deployed. New ways are needed to tightly integrate experiments, computation, and theory. Materials data must be widely shared in common formats, and made easily accessible—data describing both fundamental properties and how materials perform after processing. And universities must ensure that the next generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs have the training they need to embrace this new paradigm.
During the first five years of the MGI, Federal agencies have been working closely together and with collaborators from the public and private sectors to cultivate a cultural paradigm shift and make technical progress towards the initiative’s ambitious goals. Agencies have established or expanded an array of research and development programs. An expanding set of materials databases are being accessed by thousands of users to mine the properties of hundreds of thousands of materials. And interdisciplinary research centers at universities and government laboratories around the country are discovering and developing new materials, working with industrial collaborators to deploy those materials, and educating the future materials workforce.
A selection of accomplishments and technical successes released today illustrates the progress made during the first five years of the initiative, including:
At today’s anniversary event, senior Administration officials from the White House, DoD, DOE, NIST, and NSF, along with leading technical experts from industry, academia, and government, discussed why the MGI is important to the Nation, what can be learned from the early successes, and the challenges ahead as the initiative evolves. The strong support for the goals of the MGI throughout the materials innovation ecosystem bodes well for its continuation into the next administration, and for its potential to deliver innovative products as part of the renaissance underway in American manufacturing.