“MultiScale Material Science for Energy and Environment” is an international joint unit (UMI) between CNRS and MIT at the center of a strategic association covering research, training and education in partnership with industry. The UMI aims at “bottom up” simulation and experimental verification of properties of complex multiscale materials — from atomic-scale to microns, and from nanoseconds to years. Materials with important technological, economic, energy and environmental applications will be addressed, including cement, ceramics, nuclear fuels, steels and geo-materials. The UMI hosts French researchers at MIT, each for a number of years, and is seen as a gateway to further collaboration between CNRS and MIT. The UMI, which is housed at MIT under the auspices of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), has been designated by the CNRS as the lead unit of a “Laboratoire d’Excellence” consisting of multiple institutions engaged in materials science.
The Labex ICOME2 (Interdisciplinary Center on Multiscale Materials for Energy and Environment, Labex n°ANR-11-LABX-0053) is a network project according to the general ANR description. It aims at establishing durable links between the CNRS-MIT UMI established in Cambridge (US) and the CINAM laboratory on AMU Luminy campus in Marseille. In addition, the UMI and its Marseille mirror site are the center of gravity of the GdR-i international research network, M2UN, as part of AMU effort on the international front. The present Labex project extends from 2012 to 2016). The Labex core science project also matches that of the SOLEIL synchrotron through the nanotomography beamline (Equipex NanoimageX / Beam line AnatomiX).
Finally, as a tool to maximize the level of connections/collaborations with other CNRS/university labs, other research organizations (French and US, CEA, NIST, DOE...) and industries, we propose the establishment of the positions of Fellow of the UMI. As MIT affiliates, the Fellows of the UMI will enhance the scientific and industrial relevance and provide the outreach for technology transfer.
The CNRS-MIT UMI laboratory was opened in June 2012 as the concrete expression of both parties in building reinforced peer-to-peer collaborations. The CNRS-MIT UMI is composed of 6 French academic/CNRS scientists. It is located on the MIT campus. In addition to the salaries of its own professors, MIT is providing office and lab space and administrative support to the UMI. A Memorandum of Understanding between CNRS and MIT stating the creation of the CNRS-MIT UMI was signed during the France-MIT conference in June 2011. From the will of the President of CNRS, the UMI has a mirror site at CINaM, the CNRS-Aix-Marseille Université research laboratory on materials and nano-science; idea thoroughly supported by AMU. Aix-Marseille University (AMU) is a new institution resulting from the merge of the three old Aix-Marseille universities (Université de Provence, Université de la Méditerranée and Université Paul Cézanne). It was legally established by a recent government bill (n° 2011-1010, 08/24/2011) and has started operating officially on January 1st, 2012. AMU is expected to become a leading pluridisciplinary university in France and beyond. Through the involvement of the CINaM, the Université de la Méditerranée supports this Labex on behalf of AMU.
In addition, the UMI is the flagship of the international research network ?Multi-Scale Materials Under the Nanoscope, M2UN, (also named as GdR-I, in the CNRS organization). This GdR-I connects about 12 CNRS labs and MIT but also several French (Marseille, Lyon, Paris VI, Pau, ?), American (Berkeley, Princeton, Rudgers) and European (Imperial College-London, ETH-Zurich) Universities and French (CEA, IRSN, IFSTTAR, IRD), American (NIST) and European (LABEIN-Bilbao) research organizations, it represents about 80 academics.