Eric J. Amis has responsibility as the dean of the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at the University of Akron. With 31 faculty and over 380 graduate students, this concentration of expertise in polymeric materials helped establish Ohio’s “Polymer Valley” with top students and distinguished partners from around the world. For 1.5 years he also served the university in the dual role as vice provost, with responsibility for research administration and technology transfer. In both roles, Amis assists the faculty to secure research funding, unique facilities, and collaborations with industry.
Amis came to UA in 2014 from United Technologies Research Center, where he was director of physical sciences in the corporate research laboratory. His team of scientists and engineers was responsible for research and development in advanced manufacturing, materials and chemical sciences, structural integrity, applied physics, and measurement science. He was also responsible for developing external partnerships aligned with UTC strategies in advanced manufacturing.
Prior to UTRC, Amis spent 15 years in leadership roles at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory, including 10 years in the Polymers Division, with responsibility for programs in materials research to advance fundamental measurement science. Before NIST, he was on the faculty in chemistry at the University of Southern California for 11 years, where he was supported by NSF, DOE, ONR, and DARPA. His Ph.D. in chemistry is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Amis is a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering and a Fellow of the Materials Research Society, the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, and the Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering Division of the American Chemical Society. He has served as chair of the Division of Polymer Physics of the APS and of the Polymer Chemistry Division of the ACS, and he was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Polymer Science: Physics for 11 years. He chaired three Gordon Conferences (one as founding co-chair) and served on government advisory boards, including for NSF, ARO, and DOE, currently as chair of the materials review board at Sandia. He has two Silver Medals from the Department of Commerce for work in polymer and materials research. His research interests are combinatorial and high-throughput methods for functional polymers or biomaterials, additive manufacturing, nanomaterial characterization, gels and networks, polyelectrolytes, and soft matter physics. At Akron, he has recently established a new research group of 5 Ph.D. students. He has 151 peer-reviewed publications and an H-index of 57.
This is an exciting time for the Materials Research Society. With growth and vitality, the MRS continues to demonstrate international leadership for the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research. As both a member driven and member serving organization, it is known for quality publications, engaging meetings, advocating in support of the materials research community, and promoting innovation and diversity in the profession. As members of the MRS, each of us have to opportunity to get involved and we have access to all that is produced collectively. We also know that this is an interesting time, and exciting time, for science and engineering research. It is also a time for the Materials Research Society to continue to move forward with quality professional journals and meetings, creating opportunities members, and advocating for the importance of our field as priorities are decided. In considering the MRS three topics are of particular interest to me:
First, materials research is incredibly exciting with developments of new materials and game changing applications. We expect to see new carbon materials applications, organic-inorganic hybrid materials, electronic materials, nanostructured materials, and materials based on learning from biological and natural structures. New materials are changing our traditional industries in areas such as electronics, transportation, communications, energy, and medicine. It is especially interesting as the applications bleed from one field to another. MRS has supported the scientific community, sometimes taking a leadership role and sometimes following fast. It is essential that we continue to pursue and embrace new materials.
Second, outstanding advances in experimental materials research have come hand in hand with the enormous advances in theoretical and computational materials research. Modeling and simulations have empowered generations of discovery and learning about materials. The creation of enormous quantities of data and information, and the knowledge that now flows, is guiding discovery of new materials and designs for new applications. We can see the automation of scientific discovery through visualization, virtualization and computational augmentation of materials research, often with tools from yet another discipline.
Third, member engagement is essential for the future of the MRS, and this is not simple. We all face increasing and important demands on our time for raising support, managing research, reporting to sponsors, mentoring students, publishing for our community, and communicating with a diverse array of stakeholders. Member engagement with professional societies like the MRS can be an effective use of limited time if it is easy to get involved, it is an inviting and supportive environment, and when the operations are efficient. It helps to have successes. While serving on the board, I will seek opportunities to effectively involve members in the MRS, including in advocacy for the importance of materials research and support of materials research.
Because this is a critical time for the MRS and for the impact of materials research, I would like to help by contributing my time and capability. With the breadth of my career experience, I am comfortable reaching out to and advocating for research communities from academic, industry, and government. I am also committed to creating stronger engagements across these groups, so that the MRS can help create opportunities for the research community.