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Call for Comments: A Strategic Plan for the Materials Genome Initiative

From NIST Tech Beat: June 27, 2014

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Contact: Michael Baum

The federal government is looking for public comment on a draft strategic plan for the Obama administration's Materials Genome Initiative (MGI). The draft 2014 Materials Genome Initiative Strategic Plan lays out a multi-year program to address four key challenges to the MGI vision for doing materials research.

model of crystal plasticity
Model of crystal plasticity studied at NIST. The goal of this work ultimately is to be able to predict in advance the stress and strain behavior of complex, polycrystalline materials under development.
Credit: Ma/NIST
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Launched by President Obama in 2011, the MGI is a program that links government research agencies with industry and academic institutions in an effort to establish a new paradigm for creating advanced materials that meet the needs of a broad range of industries, from defense, aerospace, transportation and telecommunications to nano- and biotechnology. A central goal of the MGI is to halve the time required to move new advanced materials from laboratory discovery to commercial use.

The main emphasis of the MGI is to replace the standard trial-and-error approach to the design of new high-performance materials—alloys, composites, nanostructured materials—with a rational design approach based on multidisciplinary research, theory, computer models and vast data sets.

The draft MGI strategic plan highlights four specific challenges:

  • Leading a culture shift in materials research to encourage and facilitate an integrated team approach that links computation, data and experiment and crosses boundaries from academia to industry;
  • Integrating experiment, computation and theory and equipping the materials community with the advanced tools and techniques to work across materials classes from research to industrial application;
  • Making digital data accessible, including combining data from experiment and computation into a searchable materials data infrastructure and encouraging researchers to make their data available to others; and
  • Creating a world-class materials workforce that is trained for careers in academia or industry, including high-tech manufacturing jobs.

The draft MGI strategic plan, which includes proposed courses of action and milestones to meet each challenge, is available at www.nist.gov/mgi/upload/MGI-StrategicPlan-2014.pdf. A Federal Register notice detailing the call for public comments and how to file comments is available at https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-14392. Comments are due by July 21, 2014.

The federal portion of the MGI is managed by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), which coordinates science and technology efforts across the federal government. Federal participants in the MGI include the Departments of Defense and Energy, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).