In third year, Materials Genome Initiative pushes forward

Federal government leaders, industry leaders and academia agreed two years ago to double the pace of technological development. Today, they renewed that commitment.

The Obama administration announced June 24 more than 20 new commitments supporting the Materials Genome Initiative. The MGI is a public-private initiative, which seeks to quicken the pace at which high-tech materials are developed and deployed in the U.S.

What began as a $63 million project has since evolved into an endeavor exceeding hundreds of millions of dollars, and involvement by multiple federal agencies, technology industries, universities, professional societies, and engineers and scientists from all over the country.

Many federal players have taken stake in the MGI. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is planning to launch a competition to form a $25 million Center of Excellence on Advanced Materials.


NIST is also partnering up with the Energy Department, and will soon announce its $3 million in new awards for its recent solicitation on advanced lightweight metals. Energy is also using its Argonne National Laboratory to lead the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research project.

The Defense Department has also partnered with different agencies to get onboard with the MGI. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has collaborated with the U.S. Army and NASA to make data gathered by DARPA’s Open Manufacturing Program widely available.

The MGI is working toward a variety of goals, ranging from creating more safe and fuel-efficient cars, to developing metals used in spacecraft that can better stand extreme temperatures. Using partnerships between the private sector and academic researchers, the MGI seeks to unlock the potential of shared data in speeding up the innovation process.

“Building on two years of progress for the MGI and the exciting new commitments announced today, we’re on our way to cutting in half the time it takes to develop new materials that can fuel advanced manufacturing for a 21st-century American economy,” the White House’s Office of Science and Technology said in a June 24 statement.

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