MRSEC Vision: A comprehensive center that integrates interdisciplinary materials research with innovative outreach to inspire excellence in all aspects of science and engineering
The University of Minnesota Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) enables important areas of future technology, ranging from biomedicine, separations, and plastic electronics to security, renewable energy, and information technology. The UMN MRSEC manages an extensive program in education and career development. Center research activities are integrated with educational programs, providing interdisciplinary training of students and postdocs. The MRSEC is bolstered by a broad complement of over 20 companies that contribute directly to IRG research through intellectual, technological, and financial support. International research collaborations and student exchanges are pursued with leading research labs in Asia and Europe. The UMN MRSEC benefits from an extensive suite of materials synthesis, characterization and computational facilities.
Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSECs) support interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and engineering that are important to society. MRSECs require outstanding research quality, intellectual breadth, interdisciplinarity, flexibility in responding to new research opportunities, support for research infrastructure, and they foster the integration of research. MRSECs assess fundamental materials research topics of intellectual and technological importance, contribute to national priorities by fostering active collaboration between academia and other sectors, and enable researchers to address problems of a scope and complexity requiring the advantages of scale and interdisciplinarity provided by a campus-based research center.
The MRSEC program reinforces NSF’s commitment to excellence in interdisciplinary research and education; it is national in scope and significance, requiring coordination of the overall effort among Centers. The MRSEC program complements, but does not substitute for, NSF support for individual investigators, small groups, national user facilities, and instrumentation in materials research.
MRSECs are supported by NSF to undertake materials research of a scope and complexity that would not be feasible under traditional funding of individual research projects. NSF support is intended to reinforce the base of individual investigator and small group research by providing the flexibility to address topics requiring an approach of broad scope and duration. MRSECs are university-based, and undertake an interactive, interdisciplinary approach to materials research and education while fostering active cooperation among university-based researchers and those concerned with the application of materials research in industry and elsewhere. A MRSEC may encompass one or more interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs). Each IRG involves several faculty members and associated researchers, addressing a major topic or area in which sustained support for interactive effort by several participants with complimentary backgrounds, skills, and knowledge is critical to progress. The IRGs in a Center may be topically related, or they may address different topical aspects of materials research; they contribute to the synergy arising from the research and education activities of the Center and its common infrastructure, shared facilities and outreach programs. Thus, the Center as a whole is expected to be more than the sum of its parts.
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