Kisuk Kang is a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Seoul National University in Republic of Korea. He received his BS in materials science and engineering from Seoul National University and obtained his PhD in the emerging field of materials science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006. After postdoctoral research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he joined Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, Korea, as an assistant professor of materials science and engineering in 2008. In 2011, he moved to Seoul National University as a professor.
Kang has been active in MRS throughout his professional career. He has been an organizer for various symposia in MRS meetings particularly related to energy storage materials, rechargeable battery electrodes and electrochemistry. He served as a Graduate Student Award Subcommittee member. He himself was the recipient of the Gold award in 2005 from MRS. His involvement in other societies includes Electrochemical Society and International Battery Association, where he served as a general secretary of the International Battery Association Meeting 2018. Additionally, he serves on the editorial boards of Advanced Energy Materials (Wiley), Joule (Cell Press), Sustainable Energy and Fuels (Royal Society of Chemistry) and ACS Applied Energy Materials (ACS).
He was awarded with Young Scientist Award from International Electrochemical Society in 2012; Energy and Environmental Lectureship Award from Royal Society of Chemistry, United Kingdom, in 2013; the prestigious Young Scientist Award from the President of Korea in 2013; Scientist of the Month Award and Excellence in Research Award from Korea in 2017. Kang has authored over 200 refereed scientific papers with >17,000 citations and holds over 40 patents/pending.
Kang’s research interests range from the fundamental understanding of materials from theoretical calculations to the system analyses and developments of new types of rechargeable batteries. Particularly, his group focuses on the interdisciplinary approaches in materials development, such as exploiting the biological energy transduction mechanisms in the development of new rechargeable battery chemistry, and implementing first principles calculations on experimental synthesis of new material. He currently leads national research projects on the new materials discovery for the advanced rechargeable batteries. In his corporate leadership role, he has helped transition many materials innovations into successful commercial battery development programs. He interacts broadly and successfully with scientists, technologists and executives, not only across the country, but internationally, within both academia and industry.
The Materials Research Society has served as the most successful international platform for encouraging and fostering interdisciplinary cooperation for researchers in the field of materials science and engineering. The diverse and interdisciplinary angles of MRS have been the key to the success of positioning MRS always at the very forefront of the materials research in rapidly evolving research trends of materials. I believe this interdisciplinary standpoint will become ever more important in coming years, not only from the perspective of academic disciplines and technology advancement levels but also from the participating members from diverse backgrounds and geographic locations. My educational and professional careers started in Asia and extended to the United States and Europe, being involved in various fields such as industry, academia and a national laboratory, and my global networks and experiences have grown with MRS. With broad cultural and professional experience, I firmly believe that I can make important contributions in transitioning the evolving nature of MRS to the next level. MRS has been a success in the past, and its vision has led to an ever-increasing impact of the Society. However, it is my belief that MRS can still better serve as the global professional society for innovators and scientists to share their ideas, and further aid in expanding the technology horizon of materials as a welcoming community for diverse backgrounds of fields and members.
To achieve this goal, I believe MRS must focus on three critical objectives.
First, I will promote interdisciplinary materials research covering different fields of science while advocating the traditional components of materials research. Scientists and researchers are continually harnessing techniques and concepts from new fields, such as biology and artificial intelligence, to establish new material focuses. MRS should embrace and address the implications of this rapidly changing materials science landscape. MRS, to achieve higher impact on the field, must acknowledge new challenges and trends in materials research and continue to renew and expand the scope of its meetings.
Second, I will actively advocate the international member and Society engagements. MRS should be a platform for the communications and exchange of insights among increasingly diverse global materials community. In this respect, MRS should be more open and expand its offering of products to enable them to find their way to MRS and to engage in our dynamic Society. Innovate ideas that maintain our stance on the forefront of innovation and our standard of excellence would be only possible to attain through active interactions between cultures from diverse backgrounds. Along the same line, holding and co-sponsoring world-class meetings in various regions, or by facilitating more active contributions from the regional materials community, would be great ways to promote the integration of the global materials research community. It would bring an international and cross-cultural perspective to the main meeting in the US, as well as to promote the international visibility of MRS to communities in other regions. I can be an intermediary on this issue especially for the communities in Asia.
Finally, I will encourage active engagement from the industry sector and make MRS embrace the different technology development levels. The development time cycle of materials is continually decreasing, and the traditional schemes of transferring the academic discovery to the industry applications with step-by-step are not valid any longer. MRS should be the place that provides the people in different stages of technology developments to mingle together and share the ideas. This will accelerate the transition from academic research to impact on the industrial technology, and help translate the valid practical technology issues into the academic terminology. The importance of such a middle ground is increasing in recent years and cannot be emphasized enough. MRS must strive to find new ways to facilitate the transition from the academic discovery to technology innovations.
The leading position of MRS in the field tomorrow will rely on a rapid adoption of new approaches in a globally changing materials science landscape from diverse disciplines and people. I believe the role of the MRS Board is to plan the course for the future with vision and ensure that MRS continues to be at the forefront of the innovations in an exciting, dynamic and welcoming environment. I would be honored to have the opportunity to help shape the future of MRS in this way.