About MC-CAM

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  • What is MC-CAM?

    The Mitsubishi Chemical Center for Advanced Materials (MC-CAM) is an interdisciplinary materials research center that commenced operations in May 2001 at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). The Center enables a research partnership between the Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) and the greater materials science community housed in UCSB's College of Engineering and physical science departments. This partnership specifically targets the area of functional soft materials and has put into place MCC-funded research projects in this area on the UCSB campus. MC-CAM projects are selected and shaped by a Steering Committee consisting of an equal number of representatives from MCC and UCSB. Project selection is based on the criteria of novelty, relevance to MCC technologies and business goals, and scientific merits. The scientific programs are covered by an intellectual property agreement that provides licensing terms to MCC aligned with its business interests, and that are consistent with the mission of the University of California.

    How is MC-CAM Administered?

    MC-CAM is a Center housed within the College of Engineering at UCSB. MC-CAM is administratively and physically linked with the Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) at UCSB. This connection enables MC-CAM to leverage the physical plant, professional staff, and research facilities and equipment of the MRL, while maintaining its own autonomous research programs. In return, the MRL benefits from MC-CAM annual contributions to enlarge the research equipment base available to both centers, as well as through expanded research and outreach opportunities provided to current MRL participants.

    MC-CAM's activities are overseen by a Director, Glenn H. Fredrickson, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials, representing UCSB. The Associate Director, Dr. Tomohisa Nakamura, General Manager, Alliance Promotion Department, Mitsubishi Chemical Group Science and Technology Research Center, Inc., represents MCC. The Director of MC-CAM reports to UCSB's Dean of Engineering, Rod Alferness.

    MC-CAM's scope of activities and strategic focus are determined by the MC-CAM Governing Board.

    MC-CAM projects are shaped and selected for funding by the MC-CAM Steering Committee.

    What Activities does MC-CAM Support?

    New Research Themes ("NRTs"). NRTs are small scientific projects involving one or more UCSB faculty. These projects are designed to explore the potential, by explicit realization or by gathering peripheral evidence, of a novel idea with relevance to MCC. NRTs are funded for 1 year, typically in the range of $50,000 - $100,000. Funding can be extended for a second year if the research results are sufficiently promising at the end of year one. Particularly successful NRTs can also be expanded into Integrated Research Projects ("IRPs") in subsequent funding cycles. Currently, only NRTs are being solicited for funding. NRT proposals will be accepted at any time, but will be considered by the Steering Committee for funding at four time points: March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1. These dates will also serve as canonical starting dates for NRTs. For more information on submitting an NRT proposal to MC-CAM, see the NRT Request for Proposals document. Ideally, NRTs should address MCC R&D targets listed below.

    Large scientific Integrated Research Projects ("IRPs"). IRPs are typically interdisciplinary and involve 3-5 UCSB faculty and one or more MCC collaborators. Projects have a duration of 2-3 years and receive annual funding in the range of $150,000 - $500,000. IRPs will be selected based on a perceived high potential for producing valuable scientific and technological innovations, and may use the scope of existing New Research Themes ("NRTs") as a starting point for the research plan. The specific plan for each IRP will be defined by in-depth discussions between MCC researchers and UCSB participants.

    Annual Program Review. In order to monitor ongoing NRTs and IRPs, as well as to facilitate dissemination of research results to MCC, MC-CAM will host an annual program review each Spring to showcase research progress and accomplishments during the previous 12 month period. The Steering Committee will also provide feedback and direction at this time to ongoing projects.

    Workshops and Short Courses. Besides the Annual Program Review, MC-CAM may, at the discretion of the Director, Governing Board, and Steering Committee, sponsor specialized workshops and/or short courses at either UCSB or MCC sites. These events can be used to educate researchers in targeted areas, or to better shape and develop research programs of the Center.

    Faculty, Student, and Researcher Exchange. MC-CAM will reserve funds to support the travel expenses of UCSB faculty, students, and researchers to MCC sites to facilitate the programs of the Center. Visits of MCC scientists to UCSB, hosted either by MC-CAM or individual faculty laboratories, will also be encouraged.

    Graduate Student Fellowships. Mitsubishi Chemical has provided gift funds to endow permanent graduate fellowships at UCSB in the Chemical Engineering and Materials Departments.

    Educational Outreach Activities. MC-CAM will partner with the MRL in supporting educational activities that will enhance the visibility of MCC’s and the National Science Foundation's investment at UCSB. For example, the Center plans to sponsor Santa Barbara area high school science teachers to make educational visits to schools in Japan.

    What Research Topics Will be Emphasized?

    MC-CAM will strive to sponsor New Research Themes and Integrated Research Projects that best meet the scientific/engineering interests and objectives of the UCSB faculty, the educational mission of the university, and the business interests of MCC. A special focus will be on materials, devices, and fabrication technologies relevant to the electronics and optoelectronics industries. Examples of project areas include:

    • Organic LEDs
    • Phosphors and materials for solid state lighting
    • Battery materials with highly-controlled microstructures
    • Next generation optical storage media
    • Products based on high-purity silica and silicates
    • Specialty and functional polymers for coatings and automotive applications
    • Novel conjugated polymers and high-conductivity organics
    • Nanostructured materials with unique electronic, magnetic, and optical properties
    • Chemically modified fullerenes and fullerene devices
    • Materials for advanced display technologies

    Questions regarding the suitability of a research idea for an MC-CAM NRT should be addressed to MC-CAM Director Glenn Fredrickson.