About the Center
The Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC) program provides support for interdisciplinary materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and engineering that are important to society. The centers undertake materials research of a scope and complexity that would not be feasible under traditional funding for individual research projects or small groups.
The U.S. national network of centers for Materials Research encompasses 29 centers funded by the National Science Foundation, including the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) as part of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC) program.
The mission of CCMR is to advance, explore and exploit the science and engineering of advanced materials. The unifying theme of our current research is the study of materials purposefully structured at the nanoscale (near-atomic dimensions). Our aim is to be world leaders in the design, control and understanding of the behavior of both crystalline and disordered nanomaterials. This objective is pursued through fundamental experimental and theoretical studies of the assembly and processing of nanomaterials and of their resulting behavior.
Our research is organized around three interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs), a number of smaller groups (Seeds) and shared research facilities that offer specialized, sophisticated equipment. The CCMR also has an active and innovative Educational Program Office (EPO) as well as an effective Industrial Partnerships program. The Center plays a leading role in fostering the long tradition of interdepartmental, interdisciplinary cooperation and collaboration at Cornell. To this end, new faculty with interests in materials research are invited to become members of the CCMR. Approximately one hundred faculty members from twelve departments are active members of the CCMR; many receive direct support from the Center, either direct research support or support for graduate and undergraduate students.
The Center is primarily supported by the National Science Foundation's Division of Materials Research, but also by generous contributions from Cornell University, from industrial grants and gifts, and by New York State.
Shared Experimental Facilities are crucial to the study of complex materials and our interactions with industry. The CCMR's eight facilities comprise an integrated system for materials synthesis and preparation, analysis, testing and characterization, together with an advanced research computing capability. They are used not only by CCMR researchers, but also by researchers campus-wide, from other universities, and from government and industrial laboratories. Student users are trained in the use of these sophisticated instruments. Other on-campus facilities are central to our mission as well, especially the Cornell Nanofabrication Facility (CNF) and Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS).
Our Educational Programs Office is an essential and outstanding feature of the CCMR. We directly reach thousands of students (K-12), hundreds of parents, hundreds of teachers (K-14), and many undergraduates from across the country each year. Many Cornell faculty (including many non-CCMR members), postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students are important contributors to this highly successful program. The graduate students in particular are enthusiastic and effective ambassadors for science in both the "in-house" programs and our off-campus activities, which have included travel to Syracuse, New York City, Boston, and Virginia. These activities ensure that our graduate students understand their role and responsibility in helping the nation understand and apprecieate the importance of science and engineering to our society.
Industrial Partnerships: Cornell and the CCMR are committed to ensuring that technical innovations and inventions move efficiently from the university lab to the private sector. The CCMR Industrial Partnerships Program, directed by Dr. Michèle van de Walle, is funded by the State of New York. Its mission is to accelerate innovation and to promote economic development. Specific programs have been designed to offer access to Cornell materials science experts to industry, through the grant-based JumpStart program for small New York State companies and startups, and the low overhead rate Industrial Collaboration Program (ICP). Since 2005, JumpStart has helped 45 companies solve problems, develop prototypes and explore new markets. The ICP succeeded the very successful Polymer Outreach Program (POP). It provides industry a fast, flexible and cost-effective way to start bench-to-bench collaborations with Cornell faculty members. The suite of instruments, housed in the CCMR facilities, is also available to industry users. These instruments enable users to conduct all the analyses necessary to characterize and develop new materials.
The Center is managed by a Director, Prof. Melissa Hines, an Associate Director, Jurriaan Gerretsen and an Executive Committee that is elected by the CCMR membership.