New On-site Laboratory opening celebration held with the MacDiarmid Institute
On November 26, iCeMS opened an on-site laboratory in Wellington, New Zealand, operated jointly with the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. The MacDiarmid Institute combines investigators from seven institutions across New Zealand and aims to help transition the country to a more sustainable way of life. The Centre for Integrated Data-Material Sciences (iDM) will be based at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington and is the fifth international on-site laboratory opened by iCeMS – which also has on-site laboratory partnerships with institutions in Thailand, USA, Taiwan, and Singapore.
Speaking at the opening, Professor Aiko Fukazawa (iCeMS Deputy Director and iDM Co-Director) said that the Centre for Integrated Data-Material Sciences (iDM) was a significant first step towards wider collaboration between iCeMS and the MacDiarmid Institute.
“This jointly-operated on-site lab will provide a gateway for iCeMS to connect through the MacDiarmid Institute to many other researchers in New Zealand.”
Professor Ehsan Mesbahi, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Wellington Faculties of Science, Health, Engineering, Architecture and Design Innovation, agreed and said the new center would be in the form of a computational facility at the University in Wellington, focusing on computational materials discovery and would act as a conduit for broader collaborations between the two institutes.
“The collaborations will be supported by student exchanges and academic visits when these become possible. We are delighted to be working with Kyoto University’s prestigious Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Science and growing our joint capacity to create impactful technology for a sustainable future.”
MacDiarmid Co-Director Associate Professor Nicola Gaston said a particular focus of the collaboration was solar PVs and other materials that respond to light. She said one example of the close connections between the Institutes was the work already underway between Professor Fukazawa and MacDiarmid Investigator Dr Nate Davis evaluating the properties of new materials.
“This work is incredibly important to both countries, and to the planet. Professor Fukazawa designs and makes new materials, and Dr Davis evaluates the properties of these materials.”
Daniel Packwood (iCeMS Junior Associate Professor and iDM Co-Director) said that the new computational facility was part of Kyoto University’s international engagement strategy and cemented collaborations already underway, including those developing algorithms for how well new molecules would work as PV materials.
“In one project, we are developing new AI and machine learning algorithms for high-throughput screening, design, and discovery of organic photovoltaic materials, accelerating the development of low-cost renewable energy production. Other on-going projects involve nanoporous materials, bioengineering, and nanomachines.”
iDM is based on an MoU between the two Institutes signed earlier this year. An online workshop was held in April during which many common interests and complementary strengths between the institutes became apparent.
The online ceremony to launch the center on Friday, was attended by the Executive Vice-President for Research, Evaluation, and Industry-Government-Academia Collaboration of Kyoto University and other senior representatives of the universities and research institutes.