The National Science Foundation announces the Materials Innovation Platforms (MIP), solicitation 19-526. This is a mid-scale infrastructure program in the Division of Materials Research (DMR) designed to accelerate advances in materials research. MIPs respond to the increasing complexity of materials research that require close collaboration of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams and access to cutting-edge tools. These tools in a user facility benefit both a user program and in-house research, which focus on addressing grand challenges of fundamental science and meet national needs. MIPs embrace the paradigm set forth by the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI), which strives to “discover, manufacture, and deploy advanced materials twice as fast, at a fraction of the cost,” and conduct research through iterative “closed-loop” efforts among the areas of materials synthesis/processing, materials characterization, and theory/modeling/simulation.
In addition, they are expected to engage the emerging field of data science in materials research. Each MIP is a scientific ecosystem, which includes in-house research scientists, external users, and other contributors who, collectively, form a community of practitioners to share tools, codes, samples, data, and know-how. The knowledge sharing is designed to strengthen collaborations among scientists and enable them to work in new ways, fostering new modalities of research and education/training, for the purpose of accelerating discovery and development of new materials and novel materials phenomena/properties, as well as fostering their eventual deployment.
The scientific focus of the MIP program is subject to change from competition to competition. The first MIP competition in 2015 focused on developing new bulk and thin-film crystalline hard materials. The second MIP competition, in 2019, focuses on the convergence of materials research with biological sciences for developing new materials.