Materials Expertise Makes Penn State and Happy Valley a Pipeline for Industry


This year’s Materials Day made a last-minute pivot from an in-person meetup to a virtual forum, but the event was no less impactful. Speaking to attendees on Oct. 13, Clive Randall, the director of the Materials Research Institute (MRI), highlighted Penn State’s accomplishments and goals. 

“Materials touches every domain in society,” he said, “particularly from the manufacturing standpoint… The breadth of Penn State imaging science ranges from spectrometry to astronomers who are imaging outer galaxies 17,000 light years away. Overall, we are 1033 orders of magnitude with our materials scientists. That’s an enormous intellectual endeavor.”

He said that as the No. 1-ranked materials science and No. 2-ranked materials engineering institution in the country, Penn State is a pipeline for industry, educating the next generation of materials experts. 

He outlined MRI’s goals for 2020-2025: 

  • Advance materials synthesis
  • Enable a center for living materials
  • Develop state-of-the-art user facilities
  • Drive material divide integration and prototyping
  • Advance quantum materials and devices
  • Develop sustainable materials manufacturing
  • Optimize translation of material discovery from labs to industry

“We continue to move forward to drive the mission of trying to make materials better and better for the community,” he said. “We hope we make the difference to the products we push out of Penn State, be that a student, a research [or] the translation into industry. Partner and work with us to make us even better than we are today. We can only become better by working together.” 


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