Ashley White1 Ivana Aguiar2 Jonathan Cullen3 Martin Green4 Anthony Ku5 Elizabeth Kupp6 Alan Rae7 Julie Schoenung8 Richard Souza9 Margeaux Wallace10

1, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, United States
2, Universidad de República, Montevideo, , Uruguay
3, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, , United Kingdom
4, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States
5, National Institute of Clean-and-Low-Carbon Energy, Mountain View, California, United States
6, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, United States
7, IncubatorWorks, Painted Post, New York, United States
8, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California, United States
9, Materials Research Society, Warrendale, Pennsylvania, United States
10, GE Global Research, Niskayuna, New York, United States

As technology enablers, materials play a pivotal role in solving the key challenges our society will continue to face, such as carbon dioxide mitigation, access to clean energy and water, and a dependable supply of raw and recycled materials for infrastructure, devices, and consumables. Meeting these challenges will require new approaches to materials science as well as expertise from related fields, including other scientific and engineering disciplines, sociology, economics, and policy. In recognition of the complexity of tackling sustainable development issues and the importance of materials to enabling solutions, the Materials Research Society (MRS) Board of Directors approved the creation of the Focus on Sustainability Subcommittee of the Public Outreach Committee. The subcommittee’s formation was an important step in the evolution of MRS’s sustainability-related programming and other activities.

This talk will cover the history and evolution of sustainability efforts within MRS, concentrating on the recent impacts of the Focus on Sustainability subcommittee. Its activities have included professional development seminars and workshops, symposia and tutorials, a dedicated booth at MRS meetings, industry panel discussions, hands-on activities, poster sessions, and a series of high-profile panel events organized in collaboration with the MRS Energy & Sustainability journal entitled “Materials for Energy Sustainability by 2050.”

Moving forward, the challenge for us as sustainability enthusiasts is to engage and integrate with the broader materials science community and other related disciplines. Towards that goal, this talk will discuss newer efforts to involve the broader MRS membership in our sustainability activities, raise awareness of the materials–sustainability nexus, and bring a higher level of understanding of the role different materials sub-disciplines play in sustainable development—the defining challenge of our time.