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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
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1

Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative

INTRODUCTION

At the request of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine established the 19-member Committee on Advising NSF on Its Efforts to Achieve the Nation’s Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative to evaluate the goals, progress, and scientific accomplishments of the Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF) program within the context of similar efforts both within the United States and abroad.

During the course of this 15-month study, the committee convened more than 60 times and solicited input from relevant national and international communities. There are many international Materials Genome Initiative (MGI)-like efforts, and the committee spoke with the leaders of many of these programs. Appendix C contains a list of all information-gathering sessions. This final report includes high-level, strategic recommendations to strengthen DMREF’s ability to take full advantage of existing and future opportunities for accelerating the progression of materials research from fundamentals to deployment.

This report begins with an overview of the evolution of the MGI, which then leads to an assessment of the first 10 years of DMREF. The cultural shift in materials research and practice is palpable, and future growth of the MGI-DMREF partnership is integral to reaching the ultimate goal of deploying new materials that meet societal needs and national priorities. The current state of materials research, which has been driven by this partnership, is examined next. While much has been accomplished, gaps that remain to be filled going forward are described. Finally,

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
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the committee considered its findings and recommendations in the context of the potential evolution of DMREF in the future.

Key issues addressed by the committee include the effectiveness of DMREF in the following areas:

  • Incorporating into its efforts the full scope and breadth of materials research and engaging with the greater scientific and engineering community;
  • Accessing resources in relevant parts of NSF and coordinating with other federal agencies that participate in the MGI;
  • Responding to new developments in data-related sciences, including the application of artificial intelligence (AI);
  • Accelerating the progression of fundamental materials research toward deployment and manufacturing; and
  • Attracting and developing an innovative and diverse talent pool.

This chapter gives an overview of the MGI program and how the DMREF program fits into the context of the overall effort by the full range of federal agencies involved in the MGI.

THE MATERIALS GENOME INITIATIVE

Rapid design, development, and use of new materials are needed to address many 21st-century challenges, including the energy and transportation infrastructure, reduced dependence on critical minerals, higher-quality health care, on-demand manufacturing, environmental stewardship, and national security. The MGI1 was launched by the White House in June 2011, with the aim of increasing U.S. global competitiveness by significantly accelerating the pace at which advanced materials are discovered, developed, and transitioned into manufactured products,2 and with the aspirational target of reducing the 10- to 20-year materials development cycle from 10 to 20 years by more than 50 percent, while also reducing the development cost by 50 percent. While the slow pace of transitioning materials from the laboratory

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1 The term “Materials Genome” is based on an analogy to bioinformatics and the Human Genome Project, in that the analysis of very large data sets is used to understand and exploit the complexity that emerges from simple building blocks, which are the base pairs in genetics and the periodic table in materials.

2 NSTC, 2011, “Materials Genome Initiative for Global Competitiveness,” White paper by the ad-hoc interagency Group on Advanced Materials, https://www.mgi.gov/sites/default/files/documents/materials_genome_initiative-final.pdf.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×

into engineering systems was a well-known and long-standing challenge,3 national studies highlighted emerging capabilities in materials theory and computation, rapidly advancing experimental platforms and the expanded ability to generate and access materials data. The MGI specifically identified computer simulations and data management as the key ingredients that could enable this dramatic acceleration, with the resulting concept, depicted in Figure 1-1,4,5,6 of a “Materials Innovation Infrastructure” with materials data repositories for computational materials and chemical sciences to ensure public access to open data and open-source community software.

The activities encompassed in the MGI can be roughly grouped as follows:

  • Develop the knowledge base of theoretical, numerical, and experimental techniques for accelerated materials design, and identify and fill critical gaps that are bottlenecks to progress;
  • Unify the Materials Innovation Infrastructure, a framework of integrated advanced modeling, computational, and experimental tools and quantitative data;
  • Design, develop, and deploy advanced materials using these tools and data; and
  • Educate, train, and connect the materials research and development (R&D) workforce.

The MGI is a federal multi-agency effort coordinated by a subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council, which developed an initial strategic plan in 2014 that was updated in 2021. NSF is one agency partner in the initiative that also includes the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Department of Commerce (DOC), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Nuclear Security Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey

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3 National Research Council, 2004, Accelerating Technology Transition: Bridging the Valley of Death for Materials and Processes in Defense Systems, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, https://doi.org/10.17226/11108.

4 NSTC, 2011, “Materials Genome Initiative for Global Competitiveness,” White paper by the ad-hoc interagency Group on Advanced Materials, https://www.mgi.gov/sites/default/files/documents/materials_genome_initiative-final.pdf.

5 Integrated computational materials engineering is a transformational discipline for improved competitiveness and national security; National Research Council, 2008, Integrated Computational Materials Engineering: A Transformational Discipline for Improved Competitiveness and National Security, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, https://doi.org/10.17226/12199.

6 Department of Energy (DOE), 2010, Computational Materials Science and Chemistry: Accelerating Discovery and Innovation Through Simulation-based Engineering and Science, https://science.osti.gov/-/media/bes/pdf/reports/files/Computational_Materials_Science_and_Chemistry_rpt.pdf.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
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FIGURE 1-1 The founding conceptual structure of the Materials Innovation Infrastructure.
SOURCE: National Science and Technology Council, 2021, Materials Genome Initiative Strategic Plan, A Report by the Subcommittee on the Materials Genome Initiative Committee on Technology, Washington, DC: Executive Office of the President, https://www.mgi.gov/sites/default/files/documents/MGI-2021-Strategic-Plan.pdf. Courtesy of the Materials Genome Initiative.

(USGS), the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

DMREF AS A PART OF THE MGI

Since its inception in a Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 11-089)7 in 2011, DMREF has played a key role in the MGI. The DMREF program has been referred to as the “primary program by which NSF participates in the Materials Genome Initiative

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7 National Science Foundation (NSF), 2011, “Dear Colleague Letter: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF),” NSF 11-089, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2011/nsf11089/nsf11089.jsp.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×

(MGI) for Global Competitiveness,”8 and it aims to “accelerate materials discovery and development by building the fundamental knowledge base needed to progress towards designing and making a material with a specific and desired function or property from first principles” (NSF13-025).9 As in other MGI activities, DMREF considers the integration of computation, experiments, and data as its core principle. In particular, the feedback loops among these elements “wherein theory guides computational simulation, computational simulation guides experiments, and experiments further guide theory”10 are emphasized in its solicitations. Since its inception, it has funded more than 250 DMREF teams, with a few thousand researchers and with an investment greater than $270 million.11 The MGI’s goals to enhance health and human welfare and improve national security, among others, are in alignment with those at NSF, which are to be accomplished by supporting fundamental science and engineering.

One role that NSF, and thus DMREF, plays in comparison to many other agencies involved in the MGI is in its support of the early stages of the materials development continuum (see Figure 1-2A). The longer-term vision is embodied in its title, “Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future”—it tasks and inspires researchers not just to improve materials but to create a paradigm shift that would lead to major impacts on future technology, industry, society, and workforce. The core implementation of this shift is in the education of the next generation of materials scientists, as discussed in greater depth in Box 1-1. The MGI paradigm further promotes integration and iteration of knowledge across the entire materials development continuum. Unification of the materials innovation infrastructure provides a framework for seamless, convective flow of information and a weaving of knowledge among all stakeholders contributing to the materials R&D enterprise, accelerating the deployment of new materials (see Figure 1-2B).

Development of research fundamentals and workforce to support science constitute important components of NSF activities. Workforce development, in particular, is an area that NSF spearheads among all federal funding agencies that support science and engineering; therefore, DMREF activities emphasize this area.

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8 See NSF, “NSF Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF) Program,” https://www.mgi.gov/content/nsf-designing-materials-revolutionize-and-engineer-our-future-dmref-program-0, accessed October 17, 2022.

9 See NSF, 2012, “Dear Colleague Letter: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF),” NSF 13-025, https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf13025.

10 See NSF, “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Materials Innovation Platforms (MIP),” https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15046/nsf15046.jsp, accessed October 17, 2022.

11 See section “The Quality and Impact of DMREF Contributions” in Chapter 2 of this report for examples of what has been done.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
Image
FIGURE 1-2 (A) Materials development continuum, showing the different stages of material development from discovery to deployment in a traditional linear fashion. (B) Image depicting the MGI paradigm that promotes integration and iteration of knowledge across the entire materials development continuum.
SOURCES: (A) National Science and Technology Council, 2011, “Materials Genome Initiative for Global Competitiveness,” White paper by the ad-hoc interagency Group on Advanced Materials, https://www.mgi.gov/sites/default/files/documents/materials_genome_initiative-final.pdf. (B) National Science and Technology Council, 2021, Materials Genome Initiative Strategic Plan, A Report by the Subcommittee on the Materials Genome Initiative Committee on Technology, Washington, DC: Executive Office of the President, https://www.mgi.gov/sites/default/files/documents/MGI-2021-Strategic-Plan.pdf. Courtesy of the Materials Genome Initiative.

While most major NSF facilities are not directly related to materials research,12 NSF supports the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and previously the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure. Other NSF facilities, such as the Major Research Instrumentation Program and Material Innovation Platforms, provide opportunities for the DMREF program researchers to employ state-of-the-art instruments. This is particularly important because the DMREF program does not provide funding for major equipment.

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12 See NSF, “Major Facilities List,” https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/lfo/docs/major-facilities-list.pdf for a list of all major NSF facilities, accessed November 8, 2022.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×

As the MGI encompasses activities beyond traditional materials science and engineering, the DMREF program straddles three directorates—namely, Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Engineering—and brings together a large number of programs from these directorates. Funded DMREF principal investigators (PIs) have been from a wide variety of disciplines, including chemistry, materials science, physics, mathematics, computer science, data science, engineering, and biology. Currently, DMREF proposals are solicited every other year, alternating with the biannual MGI PI meeting, which serves as a foundry for new ideas.

Complementary MGI-Related Activities and Opportunities Supported by NSF

Although DMREF represents the primary program by which NSF participates in the MGI, DMREF activities are leveraged, expanded, and enhanced by interacting with several other MGI-related efforts that are supported by NSF within the context of materials science. The discovery, development, manufacture, and deployment of advanced materials span fundamental research on the physical and chemical principles governing the behavior of materials, new methods for pushing the performance of existing materials, and new advanced manufacturing strategies to efficiently and effectively deploy these materials into useful technologies. Through DMREF and with other programs, NSF supports research across this materials development continuum with the objective of developing new understanding and integrated approaches and providing access to the research tools, data, and knowledge necessary to respond quickly to technological needs while training the next-generation workforce.

As shown in Chapter 2, various DMREF projects have made use of several existing NSF programs, and opportunities exist to strengthen those connections while creating pipelines and bridges to new NSF initiatives. Some key complementary NSF programs are highlighted below. Additional approaches to raising awareness of other opportunities within NSF among DMREF-sponsored researchers are discussed in Chapter 6 (see Findings 6.8 and 6.10; Recommendations 6.10, 6.12, and 6.18; and Key Recommendation 6.16).

Within the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, the Division of Chemistry (CHE) and the Division of Materials Research (DMR) have served for many years as foundational programs that support and nurture fundamental studies leading to innovative advances in materials discovery, development, and optimization along early stages of the materials development continuum (see Figure 1-2). The mission of CHE is to “support innovative research in chemical sciences, integrated with education, through strategic investment in developing a

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×

globally engaged U.S. chemistry workforce reflecting the diversity of America.”13 Topical Materials Research Program areas within DMR cross the spectrum from solid-state, inorganic hard materials and metals to biological and/or synthetic soft matter, including biomaterials, electronic and photonic materials, and polymers, and involving experiment and theory for condensed matter and condensed matter physics. In addition to the DMREF program, DMR supports several other large centers, teams, and programs, including the Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers and the Materials Innovation Platforms, each of which make contributions to the MGI.

Within the MGI, a critical need is to develop the data and software infrastructure necessary to implement and deploy materials discovery loops. In this context, synergies with the broader NSF community are achieved by leveraging other programs, such as the Cyber Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (CSSI), which supports efforts to address emerging needs for cyber infrastructure, as well as the Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering (CDSE) and other programs that encourages efforts to address MGI-related challenges.

Another NSF program, National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Institutes Accelerating Research, Transforming Society, and Growing the American Workforce, addresses a strategic objective of the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan by enabling long-term research and U.S. leadership in AI through the creation of AI Research Institutes. The 2022 solicitation for the NSF National AI Research Institutes program expands upon the initially established 18 institutes across a focus of six themes that aim to pursue transformational advances in (1) intelligent agents for next-generation cybersecurity, (2) neural and cognitive foundations of AI, (3) AI for climate-smart agriculture and forestry, (4) AI for decision making, (5) trustworthy AI, and (6) AI-augmented learning to expand education opportunities and improve outcomes.

Materials Innovation Platforms (MIPs). MIP is a midscale program in DMR that supports integrated platforms for materials research by involving a broad ecosystem of in-house research scientists, external users, and other contributors who share tools, algorithms, data, and knowledge to advance the scientific goals of specific materials research programs. MIPs began relatively recently, with two rounds of competition supporting four MIPs.14 Access to the cutting-edge tools, facilities, infrastructure, expertise, and knowledge within these MIPs is expected to benefit the fundamental efforts of DMREF researchers in the design, synthesis,

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13 See NSF, “About Chemistry (CHE),” https://www.nsf.gov/mps/che/about.jsp, accessed July 14, 2022.

14 The website for the Materials Innovation Platforms is https://beta.nsf.gov/funding/opportunities/materials-innovation-platforms-mip, accessed September 26, 2022.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×

and characterization of materials; data generation and sharing; and other early-stage development activities.

A major goal of the MGI is to educate, train, and connect the materials R&D workforce capable of developing and leveraging new interdisciplinary approaches to materials research. Within NSF, the Division of Graduate Education has created the NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program to transform graduate education through highly interdisciplinary curricular and research experiences. Several past and current NRT-funded programs are aligned to the MGI.

The Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships. This new NSF Directorate, launched in 2022, provides opportunities for the DMREF program to serve as a pipeline for materials, data, knowledge, and workforce—progressing from fundamental materials research designs to their translation along the materials development continuum and ultimately to achieving the accelerated development goals of the MGI, providing jobs and technologies of impact to society and strengthening the United States globally.

Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI). The GOALI type of proposal aims to synergize university-industry partnerships by making project funds or fellowships/traineeships available to support an eclectic mix of industry-university linkages. Special interest is focused on affording the opportunity for the following15:

  • Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students to conduct research and gain experience in an industrial setting;
  • Industrial scientists and engineers to bring industry’s perspective and integrative skills to academe; and
  • Interdisciplinary university-industry teams to conduct research projects.

GOALI targets high-risk/high-gain research with a focus on fundamental topics; new approaches to solving generic problems; innovative, collaborative industry-university educational programs; and direct transfer of new knowledge between academe and industry. GOALI seeks to fund research that lies beyond that which industry would normally fund by itself.

OTHER AGENCIES INVOLVED IN THE MGI

The potential of discovering, manufacturing, and deploying advanced materials twice as fast and at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional methods impacts the mission of virtually every federal agency. Thus, the MGI inspires the

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15 See NSF, “Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI),” Program Solicitation NSF 12-513, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12513/nsf12513.htm, accessed October 17, 2022.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×

community and synergizes activities across the federal agencies to establish policy, resources, infrastructure, and workforce to support U.S. institutions in the effort to accelerate materials development. In addition to NSF, other agencies involved include the following:

  • DOC, including NIST and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office;
  • DoD, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Army Research Laboratory, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense;
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy;
  • Department of State;
  • Department of the Interior, including USGS;
  • DOE;
  • USDA;
  • NASA;
  • Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health; and
  • Office of Management and Budget.

Following are short descriptions of the objectives of some of these organizations to provide context on the breadth of fundamental, mission-focused, and advanced development activities across the federal government. Additional information from other agencies can be found on the MGI website.16 Similar to NSF, each agency has an extensive list of investments and programs supporting the MGI vision. It should also be pointed out that many agencies have highly advanced tools and facilities that can be accessed at no cost by university or academic researchers funded by NSF grants (see the section Large-Scale National Facilities in Chapter 3). Additional discussion of enhancing partnerships across agencies can be found in Chapter 6 (see Key Finding 6.15, Recommendation 6.14, and Key Recommendation 6.15).

Department of Energy

DOE’s mission is to ensure U.S. security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.17 This begins, in part, with materials. The Basic Energy Sciences (BES) program supports fundamental research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels. BES promotes the MGI paradigm shift through the establishment of

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16 The website for MGI is mgi.gov, accessed September 26, 2022.

17 DOE, n.d., “Mission,” https://www.energy.gov/mission, accessed September 26, 2022.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×

multidisciplinary teams with integrated expertise in theory, computation, experiment, and data, as well as contributing key components to the Materials Innovation Infrastructure. Specifically, the MGI goals are supported through the Exascale Computing Initiative, and the development of new algorithms and design principles through stand-alone research codes and integrated software packages. A successful example of BES’s efforts in the MGI is its support for the Materials Project, which disseminates computed and experimental data, algorithms, and modeling capability to its more than 200,000 users at a rate of several million data items each day. Several hundred AI activities are based on the Materials Project data platform. Another example of BES’s MGI support is the Predictive Integrated Structural Materials Science (PRISMS),18 which develops PRISMS Software, a multiscale modeling framework that spans from electronic structure to continuum length scales, and Materials Commons, a data repository and collaboration platform. The DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research program provides competitive awards for graduate students to work with hosts at national laboratories to enhance and accelerate their theses research on MGI-relevant science topics. Finally, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) supports high-impact applied research and technology development for a broad range of energy efficiency and renewable energy applications, where high-performance materials and processes play an important role. EERE’s efforts to support MGI-related activities are through the Energy Materials Network (EMN). Each EMN consortium in the network is set up to “facilitate stakeholder access to the national laboratories’ capabilities, tools, and expertise to accelerate the materials development cycle and enable U.S. manufacturers to deliver innovative, made-in-America products in support of environmental justice.”19

National Institute of Standards and Technology

To foster widespread adoption of the MGI paradigm across materials development ecosystems, NIST focuses on the issues around the exchange of materials data, and the means to ensure the quality of materials data and models. The NIST MGI effort also anticipates the application of AI techniques to materials design to ensure materials data are “AI Ready.”20

NIST is engaged in projects to develop and unify key aspects of the Materials Innovation Infrastructure, identify challenges in the infrastructure’s establishment

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18 The website for PRISMS is http://www.prisms-center.org/#/home, accessed September 26, 2022.

19 See Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Energy Materials Network,” https://www.energy.gov/eere/energy-materials-network/energy-materials-network, accessed October 17, 2022.

20 AI Ready means taking steps to collect data around relevant systems, equipment, and procedures, and storing and curating those data in a way that makes them easily accessible to others for use in future AI applications.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×

and integration, and identify case studies for the broader MGI effort. NIST is working with stakeholders in industry, academia, and government to develop (1) standards, tools, and techniques enabling acquisition, representation, and discovery of materials data; (2) interoperability of computer simulations of materials phenomena across multiple length and time scales; and (3) quality assessments of materials data, models, and simulations.21 For example, NIST’s Materials Data Repository is open to the research community interested in developing best practices in the management of materials data.22 The repository accepts data in any format23 and provides a framework for searchability and discoverability via accepting metadata, including title, author, and ownership information, as well as descriptive metadata. The repository is further organized into communities and collections, which helps to promote data re-use within user groups, as well as to provide a measure of brows-ability. Finally, to manage the many technical and societal challenges around the materials data infrastructure, NIST partners with, and leverages investment from, NSF to support the Materials Research Data Alliance,24 a materials R&D community effort in the spirit of the National Materials Data Network called for in the 2021 MGI Strategic Plan.

Department of Defense

DoD’s materials enterprise (including the various branches, such as the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Laboratory, and the Army’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center) spans the breadth of materials and manufacturing processes used to enable platform and weapon capability for all missions. Scientists and engineers from the Military Services and Components collaborate to establish the fundamental relationships among material structure, properties, and performance, and work with industry to advance this state of the art. DoD’s Advanced Materials Science & Technology Strategy is in line with the MGI vision of expediting the identification and fielding of materials to enhance the capabilities of current and future platforms. The priorities include (1) digitizing, automating, and integrating decision tools into the materials discovery, development, and deployment cycle; (2) developing robust digital engineering and digital manufacturing processes to increase agility during system acquisition; and (3) building on these digital twins with data obtained through testing and fielding to

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21 See National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), “Materials Genome Initiative,” https://www.nist.gov/mgi, accessed October 17, 2022.

22 The Materials Data Repository can be found at https://materialsdata.nist.gov, accessed September 26, 2022.

23 However, there is a limit on the quantity of data it will accept.

24 See the Materials Research Data Alliance website at http://www.marda-alliance.org, accessed October 17, 2022.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×

identify potential failure modes, condition assessment, and service life prediction. Investments include establishing reliable AI, machine learning, and physics-based digital tools; establishing methods for verification, validation, and uncertainty quantification of the materials and manufacturing data and models; and developing the expertise and future workforce to use these capabilities to transform materials discovery and development.

U.S. Geological Survey

USGS is focused on the classification of public lands and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain. Within USGS, the Mineral Resources Program (MRP) is the primary federal source of scientific information and research on onshore nonfuel minerals. MRP’s science portfolio encompasses a broad spectrum of mineral resource science, allowing for a comprehensive understanding of the complete life cycle of nonfuel mineral resources and materials; this includes resource formation, discovery, production, consumption, use, recycling, and reuse, as well as an understanding of environmental issues of concern throughout the life cycle.25 This mineral information and research portfolio complements the MGI in several ways. USGS’s capabilities in material flow analysis, assessment, and forecasting of mineral criticality highlight where MGI efforts to develop material substitutes have the potential to address supply risk for critical materials. Conversely, new materials that spring from MGI research will inform USGS on the potential availability assessments of resources required to manufacture new materials. This will influence future USGS research directions on ore discovery or hint at minerals that might become more critical in the future.

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25 See U.S. Geological Survey, “What We Do,” https://www.usgs.gov/programs/mineral-resources-program/what-we-do, accessed October 17, 2022.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
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Page 13
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
Page 14
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
Page 15
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
Page 16
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
Page 17
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
Page 18
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
Page 19
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
Page 20
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction and Overview of the Materials Genome Initiative." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26723.
×
Page 21
Next: 2 Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future: The First 10 Years »
NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF) Get This Book
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 NSF Efforts to Achieve the Nation's Vision for the Materials Genome Initiative: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF)
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The Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) was launched in 2011 by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to help accelerate the design, discovery, development and deployment of advanced materials and to reduce costs through the integration of advanced computation and data management with experimental synthesis and characterization. A broad range of federal agencies - including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense - are part of the MGI effort and have invested more than $1 billion in resources and infrastructure accumulative since the start.

The efforts of NSF have been focused largely within the Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF) program, which supports the development of fundamental science, computational and experimental tools for generating and managing data, and workforce that enable industry and other government agencies to develop and deploy materials that meet societal needs and national priorities. At the request of NSF, this report evaluates the goals, progress, and scientific accomplishments of the DMREF program within the context of similar efforts both within the United States and abroad. The recommendations of this report will assist NSF as it continues to increase its engagement with industry and federal agencies to transition the results from fundamental science efforts to reach the MGI goal of deploying advanced materials at least twice as fast as possible today, at a fraction of the cost that meet national priorities.

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