The Materials Research Society has developed in the course of its proud history as a welcoming and dynamic community which many of us consider our professional home. Its nimble nature and core values based on excellence, interdisciplinary cooperation and inclusion have stimulated a unique environment able to foster innovative thinking at the forefront of materials development. All this has been possible through the extraordinary work and dedication of staff, volunteers and members of MRS. As global needs evolve, I believe it is essential to adopt long-term initiatives aimed at strengthening MRS in the following aspects.
High quality publications. During the last few years MRS volunteers and staff have undertaken concrete steps and a tremendous effort to enhance its publications. This produced the recent record- breaking results across MRS Bulletin and the entire MRS journal portfolio. Together with the new publication partner Springer Nature, the society will need to continue to work together to grow even further, reflecting the impact MRS publications have made in shaping the materials research community worldwide. For instance, it will be important to commission high quality thematic issues, able to capture topics of interest for new and established fields of research, especially in cross- disciplinary context. Furthermore, MRS must stimulate the dialogue towards developing materials and technologies with low environmental impact.
Increase meetings quality and engagement through virtual technologies. The material science landscape is in rapid evolution and MRS must ensure this is reflected in the content of our world- class meetings. For this, I will support a strategic differentiation in content between MRS Spring and Fall Meetings series, making the two annual programs the preferred venues for specific fields. An additional important point to be addressed will be the venue for the Meetings, particularly the Spring conference. This will need to be considered carefully in collaboration with MRS staff and its members. During the current challenging times of the pandemic, MRS is showing an even greater effort in the use of multimedia by offering virtual Spring and Fall meetings, workshops and events. The lessons learned through these experiences suggest how we can take advantage from evolving technologies to engage members and general public. Without substituting the value and importance of in-person events, I propose to address how future MRS Meetings may additionally offer some content as a virtual experience, thus reaching a larger and diverse number of participants.
Engage members in MRS governance and career development. I believe the scientific exchange between people with various backgrounds and at different career stage is fundamental for the advancement of cutting-edge research. MRS must ensure a broader reach in our awards, programming, leadership and volunteers recruitment, for example by the establishment of a task force aimed at stimulating the participation of younger generations of scientists and better representation from countries outside the US. MRS University Chapters is already helping students around the world to prepare for their future professional and leadership roles in the materials science community. An additional step can be the promotion of sessions organized by undergraduate and early stage scientists as an integral part of the Spring and Fall Meetings to engage in cross- generation discussions and mentoring events.
Increase relations between academia and industry. MRS has successfully been a home for industrially-relevant technical content, where innovators and scientists share ideas and insights to improve the quality of life and catalyze technological advances. I propose to further expand this collaboration by engaging MRS members from industry in publications, governance, mentoring and ad hoc sessions at MRS meetings that, for instance, discuss how to transfer research breakthroughs from laboratory scale into valuable products.
Empower the MRS staff. During the past years I have experienced first-hand the work of the outstanding staff at the society headquarters, which supports and complements the effort of MRS volunteers. The staff is an invaluable asset which must be provided with opportunities for professional development and resources to explore new initiatives.
I envision MRS as a society in continuous evolution, responsive to the social and environmental implications of new materials and technology. A society that engage passionate members and volunteers in exciting and dynamic collaborations. I will do my utmost to help MRS to continue to develop and implement new ideas and directions for the many years ahead of us.