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William S. Wong, University of Waterloo

Candidate for MRS Board of Directors

Wiliam WongWilliam S. Wong is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Giga-to-Nanoelectronics (G2N) Center at the University of Waterloo. He received his B.S. degree in Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), his M.S. in Materials Science from U.C. San Diego, and his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Mineral Engineering from U.C. Berkeley in 1999. After receiving his Ph.D., Wong joined the Palo Alto Research Center (formerly Xerox PARC) where he helped establish the large area printed and flexible electronics program within the Electronic Materials and Devices Lab.

Since joining the faculty at the University of Waterloo, Wong launched the Facility for Advanced Sensor Technology (FAST) within the G2N Center. Under his direction, the G2N and FAST has become core facilities on the Waterloo campus for investigating electronic and optoelectronic materials and devices. The laboratories enable academic researchers and industry partners across Canada to synthesize, process and characterize a wide range of thin-film materials and solution processed semiconductors for the development of flexible electronic devices and their integration onto large-area platforms.

Wong’s research group pursues a broad science and engineering program specializing in thin-film microelectronics encompassing disordered organic and inorganic semiconductors as well as wide bandgap optoelectronics. His group focuses on the heterogeneous integration of dissimilar materials onto disparate platforms for enhancing microsystem functionality. His research is applied towards large-area systems that include flexible displays, solid-state lighting for large-area systems, and integrated sensor systems. He has authored or co-authored more than 140 articles (with >9000 citations) that includes contributed technical papers, invited book chapters, invited papers, and edited books, in addition to 85 U.S. patents and more than 45 invited seminars.

Wong’s work on laser processing of GaN materials has enabled high-brightness light emitters for indoor and automotive lighting. As a graduate student, he was awarded the MRS Best Poster Award and the Silver Graduate Student Award for this research; the technology is now being used for the manufacturing of solid-state lighting and the development of next-generation display technology. His work on inkjet printing of electronic materials helped establish the University of Waterloo as a research hub for printed electronics in Canada. In recognition for these contributions, he was awarded the University of Waterloo Outstanding Performance Award and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Research Excellence Award.

William is currently an elected officer of the Electronic Materials Committee where he is Treasurer and is involved with the Electronic Materials Conference, having had roles as symposium chair, invited organizer, and committee member since 2001. He also served on the editorial board of IEEE Electron Device Letters from 2011-2020 and is the inaugural advisor of the student chapter of the IEEE Electronics Packaging Society, the first in the Waterloo region. Under William’s guidance, the chapter was awarded the 2021 Outstanding IEEE Student Chapter for their organization and implementation of outreach and technical events in the surrounding community.

Candidate's Statement

Throughout its history, MRS has provided an acclaimed platform for researchers and scientists to disseminate information on a global scale, creating positive impact for discovery, innovation, and commercialization of materials research. Through its diverse membership, MRS supports a robust global network for materials-based solutions, advancing wide ranging technologies for applications from information and communications technology to aerospace, biomedical, and consumer electronics that positively impact society and our quality of life. These achievements are a result of long-term initiatives based on the diversity and outreach of MRS that have strengthened the materials research community. I am excited to possibly join its board to help continue the growth of MRS and contribute to achieving its objectives and mission.

As MRS transitions from the recent pandemic challenges, it is crucial to continue engaging new participants by creating opportunities for its membership, especially young professionals and students, to form long-lasting relationships with the organization. While MRS consistently provides resources to help its members build strong connections for career development, enhance collaboration, and encourage scientific exchange, challenges remain, especially for international members attempting to define early career trajectories. For example, the recent immigration restrictions imposed by the U.S. have created significant barriers for collaboration and domestic employment, disproportionally affecting a large group of researchers. MRS possesses a unique capability that can help overcome these barriers by working with government agencies both in the U.S. and internationally. In the past, MRS has acted with other research societies to help alleviate taxes on tuition waivers for graduate students in the U.S., helping reduce their financial burdens. I would support broadening this advocacy to assist international students and researchers seeking opportunities both in the U.S. and globally. By leveraging its membership worldwide, and creating partnerships with other research and professional societies, MRS can help curb inequitable limitations at the national and international level, increasing opportunities for all researchers to enter the work force and expand new scientific collaborations.

MRS also has actively promoted industrial innovations and its commercial impact. Having been in industry and now academia, I see direct benefits for expanding the forum for industrial innovators and academic researchers to share ideas, technology development, and advance materials that improve the quality of life. I would support increasing the role of industry through MRS publications (such as Springer Nature and MRS Bulletin) to help share how innovations are transferred to relevant commercial applications. I would encourage industry participation in MRS strategic governance and increase their involvement in workshops in the Spring and Fall meetings to foster industry diversity and inclusion for women and underrepresented groups as well as young professionals and students.

Finally, the challenges of the pandemic demonstrated the potential of virtual meetings to engage the membership. This technology is not a replacement for in-person meetings but may be used to help breakdown economic barriers from travel costs, allowing a larger audience to remotely attend the national meetings. I support further exploring this opportunity, taking advantage of the experience from the past two years to expand interdisciplinary cooperation and inclusion through a unique and maturing medium to simultaneously reach larger and more diverse groups while attracting new participants.

Approaching its 50th anniversary, MRS has established itself as a world-leading society and authority for materials science, disseminating discovery and innovation while fostering new opportunities for engaging its members through scientific exchange and career development. If elected, I will use my experience in governance and management to work together with the officers, staff, volunteers, and members to ensure MRS continues to build on these achievements.