NSF Launches International Materials Center at UCSB
By Gail Gallessich
UC Santa Barbara was selected by the National Science Foundation
to host a new center under the International Materials Institutes
Program. The International Center for Materials Research (ICMR)
has received initial funding of $3.5 million over five years (from
2004 to 2009).
The mission of the center is to promote global excellence in materials science and engineering through a series of research and educational programs. The ICMR will provide an international forum that convenes scientists and engineers with common interests in the future of materials science. It will implement a variety of international programs, including workshops, exchange programs, visitors programs, and summer schools.
Materials scientist Tony Cheetham, who directed UCSB’s Materials Research Lab (MRL) for the past 12 years, is director of the ICMR. He is supported by a local steering committee composed of faculty members and an international advisory board (chaired by Professor C.N.R. Rao, president of the Third World Academy of Sciences).
The location of the ICMR takes advantage of UCSB’s strenghts in materials research. The university is internationally recognized as a center of excellence in materials science. The materials programs at UCSB have led to a worldwide network of collaborations and other activities, not only between individual scientists but also on an institutional level.
The ICMR’s partners include the MRL, the Materials Department, and the California NanoSystems Institute. Along with UCSB collaborators, the center has the support of 16 partner institutions, including the International Center for Theoretical Physics and the Third World Academy of Sciences, both located in Trieste, Italy.
Other partner institutions are located in the developing world (India, South Korea, Singapore, Mexico, Chile) as well as the developed world (Israel, Germany, Australia, France, Switzerland).
One of the core activities of the ICMR is the extended visitor programs, which will last two to three months at UCSB. These topical programs bring together materials scientists with common research interests and involve lectures, discussion sessions, and the opportunity to collaborate with UCSB faculty on experiments.
In addition, there will be an annual summer program on campus in a specific area of materials science. The targeted audience is graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and young faculty members. ICMR can facilitate the attendance of scientists from overseas, including developing countries.
The ICMR programs also include several thematic overseas workshops. One was held last month in Pune, India, near Bombay. Others are being planned this year for Kyoto, Japan; Berlin; Beijing; and South America.