The White House built a partnership involving UW-Madison, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan to spark a national conversation on accelerating discovery to help keep the United States a world leader.The importance of materials science was underscored when the White House named UW-Madison a partner in its Materials Genome Initiative for Global Competitiveness.

The campaign aims to double the speed at which the nation discovers, develops and manufactures new materials. Getting new materials to market has sometimes taken decades. For example, the lithium-ion batteries in our electronic devices were first proposed in the mid-1970s and came to the market in the late 1990s.

One of the goals of the initiative is to establish a materials innovation infrastructure that includes computational and experimental tools, digital data resources and collaborative networks. It will also address high-priority material problems and build a collaborative culture.

Cyrus Wade, assistant director for clean energy and materials R&D in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, says the nation must take a proactive and coordinated approach.

“Continuing to push the innovation envelope in American industry while meeting our nation’s array of growing needs in clean energy and other sectors will require not only more stable access to critical materials, but the discovery of altogether new material alternatives,” says Wade.

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