A newly formed institute at the University of Michigan will establish a hub for materials research by integrating the capabilities of materials research across the university.
The institute was launched in part to address the Grand Challenges identified by the National Academy of Engineering, most of which depend on breakthrough developments in materials science. Those challenges include low-cost solar power, advanced medicine and re-engineered urban infrastructure.
Funded by the U-M College of Engineering and U-M Office of Research, the Michigan Materials Research Institute will be a central point of contact for federal agencies and industry, providing easy access to the many disciplines that underpin materials science research and driving collaboration within the university.
A core team is integrating efforts from a wide range of disciplines including mechanical engineering, chemistry, computer science, dentistry, physics, nuclear engineering, chemical engineering and aerospace engineering in addition to materials science.
“Because of the breadth of expertise at U-M, it’s important to catalyze connections between fields,” said Alan Taub, the founding director of the MMRI and professor of materials science and engineering and mechanical engineering. “The institute will make it easier to bring disciplines together as materials research evolves over time in response to new ideas and industry and government needs.”
Taub said the institute was formed in part as a response to the changes in materials science brought about by computational materials engineering and the increasing use of modeling tools that enable advances in materials composition, properties and processing to proceed much more quickly than in the past.
“We have entered a new era of predictive materials discovery, design and manufacturing via the integration of theory, computation and experiments,” Taub said. “The University of Michigan is positioned very well to be the leader in driving this new approach to materials research.”