Workshop participants will be challenged to envision bold, innovative, and high risk advances in mid-scale level tools and instruments, processes and techniques to overcome current limitations in furthering our understanding and development of new biomaterials.  

What kinds of tools and processes would help us know more about biomaterials or interrogate biomaterial systems in a manner that has not been done to date?


When : Aug. 2-3, 2016.  from 8 am to 5 pm. (Please arrive on Aug. 1)

Where : Arlington, VA at the National Science Foundation Headquarters

Who : Participants from diverse fields have been invited which includes experts in academia, industry, federal agencies.

How : The speakers and participants will take part in a two-day event of talks, discussions, planning, and reporting.

What : The Biomaterials workshop will identify audacious or high risk/high pay -off opportunities in biomaterials where an investment in mid-scale instrumentation would significantly advance the understanding and discovery of new biomaterials and discovery of phenomena.  New instruments, processes, foundries or convergence of techniques may also be envisioned. 

-  Biomaterials are of high priority, as they enrich and prolong human lives, promote understanding of nature, and enable research and industry capabilities that contribute to US advancements - including economic competitiveness and workforce development.  This workshop will identify fundamental biomaterials research areas of national importance that would benefit the most from a targeted investment in large scale instrumentation in the range of $4M – $50M and the organization of collaborative teams.  Workshop participants will explore ways in which these investments would transform our basic understanding and accelerate biomaterials discoveries over current strategies, methodologies and available tools.

​-  The workshop is designed to build a framework through contributions from the ideas and experience of top researchers, scientists, and engineers who will contribute and give insight to the need for such a platform and how the various areas of biomaterials research may benefit from access to such facilities or team of researchers. 

National Science Foundation (NSF) Initiatives:

The focus of the Division of Materials Research (DMR), National Science Foundation (NSF) is to advance materials research and engineering through the discovery and understanding of unique phenomena, processes, and analytical methods related to materials. Over the last few years, there have been several reports and initiatives that underscore this mission and the full potential of the US materials research community, such as the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) started in 2011. MGI seeks to radically reduce the time of new materials discovery to full deployment. And reports like the 2006 Midsize Facilities National Academies report, 2010 Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics National Academies report and the NSF MPS Directorate Advisory Committee report on Materials Instrumentation all highlight that investments in next generation tools are paramount for the country’s ability to not only discover and develop new materials but to stay competitive on the world stage.

To address the opportunities outlined in these reports, DMR has initiated several new programs over the last four years. Programs such as Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) and the Materials Innovation Platforms (MIP) enable cutting-edge research and provide advanced facilities for researchers, scientists, and engineers to accelerate the discovery, analysis, and fabrication process of new materials. Both the MIP and DMREF programs have research modes experts in synthesis/processing, characterization/measurement, and theory/modeling/simulation work in an iterative closed-loop fashion. In addition, the MIP program provides this team conducting focused and targeted research access to mid-scale level instruments. These tools are then made available to the materials community at large for free through an external user facility program. New techniques and materials developed will be made available rapidly through such facilities addressing high national priority areas and enlarged funding with even industry interest. This means that investments made early in these platforms will enable transformative research and the development of new materials through a multidisciplinary research set-up. Such entities can be considered “enabling tools or systems” available for the community of researchers and educators. Such an investment is a very high priority to leapfrog materials research and development in the US compared to its peers. The benefit is in facilities and research platforms that can be made widely available.

BMAT program - The Biomaterials program supports fundamental materials research related to (1) biological materials, (2) biomimetic, bioinspired, and bio-enabled materials, (3) synthetic materials intended for applications in contact with biological systems, and (4) the processes through which nature produces biological materials.  Projects are typically interdisciplinary and may encompass scales from the nanoscopic to the bulk.  They may involve characterization, design, preparation, and modification; studies of structure-property relationships and interfacial behavior; and combinations of experiment, theory, and/or simulation.  The emphasis of the Biomaterials Program is on novel materials design and development and discovery of new phenomena.  Tissue engineering and drug/gene delivery projects must have a specific focus on fundamental materials development and characterization.  Projects with an emphasis on device design and fabrication are generally more appropriate for a program in the NSF Engineering Directorate.