Letter from the Director

The topic of this issue, which can best be described as cultural and humanitarian materials science, is one of the key areas of our new strategic plan for MRI. We realize that MRI has the capabilities to make a profound impact on the programs Penn State has already pioneered in student engagement and socially responsible engineering in the developing regions of the world. By adding our expertise in testing and characterization, we can help reduce the time to market of products that must be able to perform for extended periods in harsh environments and in resource limited locations. As this program ramps up, we will be bringing you further news of our collaborations with the likes of the Colleges of Arts and Architecture, Engineering, Agricultural Sciences, the Huck Institutes, and Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (PSIEE) to provide a materials component to their humanitarian and cultural projects.

Director, Clive RandallWith the appointment of Adri van Duin as director of the new Materials Computation Center (MCC), we are moving ahead with our plan to create a Three Labs, One Integrated Solution approach to both faculty driven discovery and industry needs. By integrating the MCC with the Materials Characterization Lab and the Nanofabrication Facility, MRI will be able to provide one-stop solutions that integrate theory, simulation, fabrication, and evaluation.

A third key strategy for MRI is the establishment of centers for the study of biological and soft materials (biomaterials, polymers) and for a sustainable digital future that builds on Penn State’s considerable strengths in electronics, energy, and photonics technology. In each of these areas discussed, MRI will encourage and support entrepreneurial efforts by MRI researchers with the goal of developing a thriving start-up community that will transfer our most promising discoveries to the marketplace.

To help implement our ambitious goals, we have restructured MRI management with a Board of Directors drawn from diverse disciplines across the university to broaden our perspective, enhance our knowledge base, and distribute our responsibilities. In addition, I am pleased to announce that Joan Redwing, professor of materials science and engineering and electrical engineering, has agreed to accept the new position as the Associate Director of MRI. Joan is not only a world’s expert in chemical vapor deposition in compound semiconductors, but she also brings over a decade of industry experience to this position. Welcome, Joan.