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Catherine Dubourdieu

Candidate for MRS Secretary

Catherine DubourdieuCatherine Dubourdieu is a full professor at Freie Universität Berlin and the Head of the Institute "Functional oxides for energy efficient information technology" at the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB). She earned an engineer diploma and a MSc degree from Grenoble Institute of Technology in 1992 and a PhD degree in physics from University Grenoble Alpes in 1995. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, she held a permanent position at CNRS from 1997 to 2016. In 2009, she joined the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights (NY, USA) as a visiting scientist for three years in the Silicon Technology Department. Back in France, she co-founded and directed, from 2013 to 2016, the CNRS research network dedicated to functional oxides, gathering more than 650 scientists from 50 laboratories and 10 companies, favoring multidisciplinary research in a common arena. In the past 20 years, she has also developed several long-term collaborations with industries. She was the recipient of an IBM Faculty Award in 2014. In 2015, she was nominated for two years by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a member of the Industrial Research Committee of the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (IFCPAR). In April 2016, she moved to HZB in Germany within the Helmholtz Recruiting Initiative. She has over 140 publications and holds 10 patents.

Her research interest lies at the interface between materials science, solid state physics and nanotechnologies. Her research interests include the growth and investigation of functional oxides, ferroelectricity at the nanoscale, heteroepitaxy on semiconductors by molecular beam epitaxy and oxide integration into CMOS-compatible devices for neuromorphic computing. Her group currently explores memristive devices such as ferroelectric tunnel junctions and field-effect transistors and their integration in the back-end-of-line of silicon chips.

Catherine Dubourdieu has been active in MRS throughout her professional career since 1997. She has participated in volunteer activities, co-organized two symposia in the past four years (2019, 2022) and was a co-chair of the 2018 MRS Spring meeting in Phoenix. She is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors (2020-2022) and has served in the Governance Committee since 2021.

Candidate's Statement

I joined MRS in 1996 when I was a postdoc in the US. Over the past 25 years, at the various stages of my scientific path, I kept feeling “at home” in this society. I attend every year or so the Spring or Fall meetings where I benefit not only from the excellence of symposia related to my research but also from the multidisciplinary and broad spectrum of topics. My students and myself had the opportunity to connect with many outstanding scientists from all over the world. I particularly remember a Women in Materials Science & Engineering breakfast during which Mildred Dresselhaus was sharing with us personal stories.

As a Board member since January 2020, I have been involved in charting the future of MRS and in contributing to the development of its strategic objectives. I have served in the Operational Oversight and Audit Committee in 2020 and in the Governance Committee since 2021. MRS made great strides on strategic priorities (MRS Governance restructuring, MRS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion new programs, re-boosting the MRS Spring meeting, MRS publication alliance with Springer Nature, establishing hybrid meetings). Confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020, MRS has been able to quickly adapt and offer excellent virtual and hybrid meetings.

As an Officer of MRS in the role of the Secretary, my role would include serving in the Board of Directors and chairing the Governance Committee, with strong interactions with the Executive Committee and the MRS Headquarter staff.

I would like to continue devoting efforts and time for the Society in various area, and particularly in the following aspects:

Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI): I am convinced that diversity drives excellence and innovation, and that it promotes inclusion, eventually determining the face of an organization. MRS is doing outstanding proactive work on DEI e.g., in promoting the inclusion and carrier of under-represented researchers and minorities. A DEI audit aimed at identifying our governance practices has been conducted and has allowed us to point to several concrete actions to take in the future. The members of the Board and the Officers shall continue to play a critical role in determining the leadership and in expanding DEI with further long-standing actions.

Enhance the MRS Community through expanding membership and worldwide networking: There is a broad spectrum of career paths for material scientists and engineers, not only in academia, but also in industry, government, public or private institutions or organizations. Hence, the society should continue to support all types of career paths and broad participation in expanding further e.g., webinars, forum, hybrid meetings and dedicated networking opportunities to retain these different stakeholders and capitalize on their diversity. It is particularly crucial to adapt to new challenges such as evolving practices and expectations of the younger generation of scientists.

Expand as the Materials Gateway for global communication and knowledge dissemination: A key role of the Society is the dissemination of scientific knowledge to a diverse and broad community through its Spring and Fall meetings as well as via other co-sponsored conferences, webinars, and its publications. As new fields emerge (e.g., quantum computing, artificial intelligence to discover new materials), it is crucial to offer adequate topical symposia that reflect this fast evolution. The role of the Society is also to pro-actively trigger networking opportunities allowing building new communities. Finally, as scientists, we carry a high responsibility to promote fact-based communication with the highest level of integrity and this is the role of the Society to be active on this issue.

Proactively Foster Materials Solutions to improve the quality of life: Materials science has a key role to play in major challenges related to energy, climate, sustainability and health, and has a direct impact on various aspects of human life. As an Officer of the Board, I will be thrilled to advocate materials science to a large audience, promote interdisciplinary research and foster technological applications.

Science and technology shape our daily life. As we are planning for the 50th Anniversary of MRS in 2023, it is crucial that MRS maintains its position as a leading organization of materials researchers worldwide and further builds on promoting excellence and innovation. Thousands of professionals at various stages of their careers feel at home and can connect across borders, disciplines, and technological applications. We shall look toward the next 50 years of materials science and engineering. If elected, I will be thrilled to work for the benefit of a diverse membership of materials scientists and engineers and to actively and enthusiastically continue serving and charting the future of MRS.