The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced a competition to create an Advanced Materials Center of Excellence to foster interdisciplinary collaborations between NIST researchers and scientists and engineers from academia and industry.
Computer models of polymer mixtures studied at NIST can help develop improved lithography resists for nanomanufacturing. Credit: NIST
The new center will focus on accelerating the discovery and development of advanced materials through innovations in measurement science and in new modeling, simulation, data and informatics tools.
NIST anticipates funding the new center at approximately $5 million per year for five years, with the possibility of renewing the award for an additional five years. Funding is subject to the availability of funds through NIST's appropriations. The competition is open to accredited institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations located in the United States and its territories. The proposing institution may work as part of a consortium that could include other academic institutions; nonprofit organizations; companies; or state, tribal or local governments.
Advanced materials, such as new high-performance alloys or ceramics, polymers, glasses, nanocomposites or biomaterials, are a key factor in global competitiveness. They drive the development of new products and new technical capabilities, and can create whole new industries. However, currently, the average time from laboratory discovery of a new material to its first commercial use can take up to 20 years. Reducing that lag by half is one of the primary goals of the administration's Materials Genome Initiative,* announced in 2011.
In many cases, the lengthy time for materials development is due to a repetitive process of trial and error experimentation that would be familiar to Thomas Edison. The Materials Genome Initiative and the new NIST center focus on dramatically reducing this through the use of measurement and data-based research tools: massive materials databases, computer models and computer simulations. The new center will provide a mechanism to merge NIST expertise and resources in materials science, materials characterization, reference data and standards with leading research capabilities in industry and academia for designing, producing and processing advanced materials.
Full details of the solicitation, including eligibility requirements, selection criteria, legal requirements and the mechanism for submitting proposals are found in an announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) posted at Grants.gov under funding opportunity number 2013-NIST-ADV-MAT-COE-01.