Jan 6, 2011
Funding the frontiers of materials science
When it comes to funding dollars, the National Science Foundation's Division of Materials Research (DMR) is one of America's most important backers of materials science. Next year, this government agency will allocate close to $320 million on a wide-ranging programme of advanced materials research and technology innovation.
In this exclusive video interview from nanotechweb.org's sister website physicsworld.com, Ian Robertson, the DMR's incoming director, talks about growth areas – nanoelectronics, photovoltaics and data-enabled science among others – and what the agency is doing to encourage high-risk, high-payoff interdisciplinary research.
As for the "next big thing", Robertson doesn't have a crystal ball, but he does predict a pivotal role for computational materials science and simulation in areas like synthesis, processing and the modelling of next-generation materials.
"My feeling is that it is not going to impact one area of materials science, but the entire field," says Robertson, who is also a Donald B Willett professor of engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
This interview forms part of a series filmed at the Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall Meeting in Boston. To view related content, visit physicsworld.com's multimedia channel.