The Area of Advance is signified by exchange of expertise across disciplines, between students and teachers, and alongside partners from industry and society. Together, we have the means to take on the grand challenges of society from a materials science perspective. Particularly, we have identified the following issues to tackle:
• More materials must be based on renewable feedstock
• Engineering materials must become lighter, as lighter constructions save both energy and materials
• New and improved ways for supply, transport, storage, and conversion of energy require innovative new materials
• Multifunctional materials, i.e. materials that utilize the native properties and functions of their own to achieve an intelligent action, will become more important
• Regenerative medicine will put high demands on the materials involving both mechanical aspects and functionality
Our resources are used strategically in line with our vision “A sustainable society through excellence in materials science”. We direct our efforts towards promoting development of research, infrastructure, networking, community building, education and outreach.
By extension, all of our activities aim to promote the quality of the materials science research performed at Chalmers. The external collaborations with society and industry coordinated by the Area of Advance, in the form of competence centres and strategic partnerships, are of course of great importance, as part of Chalmers’ long -term strategy.
Some of our strategic initiatives are, however, more direct:
Composites in transportation, construction and medicine benefit from wood-based components in reduction in weight, improvement of mechanical properties and increased compatibility with tissue. In 2018, the All-Wood Composite Platform was founded, to promote the research in this area.
Read more: All Wood Composite Platform
Furthermore, the Areas of Advance at Chalmers have allocated significant resources to the recruitment of highly talented assistant professors, and to support their research. The assistant professors have received a four-year tenure track position at Chalmers, funding for a PhD student/post-doc, a leadership programme, designed to support the young scientists in becoming independent researchers, and a permanent faculty position at Chalmers after successfully passing tenure assessment.
Read more: Assistant Professor with Tenure Track Programme
Staying at the forefront of materials theory, modelling, and experimental tools lays the ground for breakthroughs in materials science. We have over the years developed leading expertise in two highly relevant areas: Theory and Modelling and Experimental Methods, focusing on the development of new methodology and research infrastructure.
We have initiated a central facility for materials science analysis at Chalmers, providing easy access to both basic and state-of-the-art instruments with relevance to materials science, as well as professional technical support staff.
Together with Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE), we have also launched the initiative SOFT Microscopy Centre, bringing together competence in materials properties, structures and preparation of soft materials, making use of the facilities at Chalmers.
Furthermore, we coordinate Chalmers’ large investment in the world-leading synchrotron facility MAX IV, located in Lund, in the south of Sweden. This includes the development of dedicated beamlines such as ForMAX, which is tailor-made for research in wood-based materials, as well as educating researchers in advanced materials characterisation.
Read more: Materials science infrastructure at Chalmers
Networking and community building
We support research exchange at both national and international level, a strategy that includes formal agreements with three leading materials science centres: University of California at Santa Barbara - UCSB (USA), ETH (Switzerland) and Stanford University (USA).
Read more: How we work with partner universities and support community building
We put a lot of effort in communicating materials science research at Chalmers to the public. Examples of activities include public exhibitions, popular science lectures and YouTube videos.
Read more: Communicating materials science to the general public
Our strategic research environment in materials science also influences education at Chalmers, at all levels.
Read more: Materials science education at Chalmers