World Materials Summit Declaration

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The following summary declaration was presented and accepted by the 2011 World Materials Summit participants on Oct. 12, 2011, as an outcome of Expert Panel and Student Congress Panel discussions held during the Summit.

Vision: It is an inherent right of everyone on Earth to have access to clean energy and water in a sustainable way. Achieving this goal is a global endeavor that will require international coordination, cooperation and collaboration. Materials play a critical role in enabling viable solutions to these problems.

The 2011 World Materials Summit in Washington D.C., USA, identified opportunities and mechanisms to facilitate international cooperation focused on addressing materials solutions related to the critical needs of energy and water. The Summit was coupled to an International Student Congress providing key insights into opportunities for international networking, education and outreach.

To achieve the vision, the Summit had the following key observations:

  • Mechanisms need to be developed for partnering, not only across international boundaries, but also across disciplines; solutions and their adoption will require partnering of materials scientists, sociologists, economists and policy experts as an integrated activity.
  • Many fields need uniform international standards, many of which currently do not exist. Materials research societies should be conveners for these activities. They should also look at the possibility of developing metrics for sustainability.
  • Energy efficiency, if broadly enhanced by materials science, represents one of the key opportunities for the materials research community to engage the global communities of users and developers in areas such as buildings. Recycling and recycling technologies are crucial opportunities for international collaboration.
  • Future research and development must consider the abundance of materials and their accessibility. Green processing must be considered for new materials. Information resources, such as a Google-like prospector, are needed to assess resource availability. Developments should be cast in the context of potential global impact.
  • Water is a critical resource for many technologies and is critical for the quality of life. International collaboration can enable the application materials science and engineering directly to the purification and processing of water worldwide.
  • Sustained international cooperation and funding must be encouraged through government policies to move technologies to deployment. Mechanisms need to be put in place that facilitate collaboration throughout this process.
  • Public outreach, a role of growing importance for the materials community, should be facilitated through international collaboration. The materials science community must develop tools and educational materials to foster public understanding.
  • All forms of energy generation must be considered, without bias, in the context of societal impact, true risks, costs and sustainability.
  • Scientists have a clear obligation to be advocates as a personal responsibility.

Student Congress General Recommendations

Energy Statement

Provide unbiased reporting and analysis of energy technologies based on standardized sustainability metrics such as: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (actual, potential reductions), lifecycle analysis, risk assessment and reduction, region-specific assessments of potential technologies.

Market and Economics

Address global imbalances in innovation and manufacturing through targeted funding to translate basic science into products, encouraging economic education, and initiating goal-based prizes for breakthrough materials.

Education Statement

Support and maintain an online Global Resource Center for Sustainability (GRCS) that will provide educational lectures and demonstrations.

Outreach Statement

Empower students to advocate for energy and sustainability to reach both policy makers and the general public in ways which are relevant and clear.

Water Statement

Develop appropriate technologies, educational awareness, and policies to encourage efficient water purification, management and access for a growing world population.


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