The New York University MRSEC unites established senior and promising junior faculty from four NYU Departments, Princeton University, NYU Polytechnic Institute, and collaborators from key institutions, in an interdisciplinary program that addresses the synthesis, structure, and properties of innovative materials based on constituents equipped with self-contained information that directs assembly, either through shape or chemical interactions. The NYU MRSEC reinforces a rapidly growing interdisciplinary materials research enterprise at NYU, embodied by collaborations among the Departments of Chemistry and Physics, the Courant Institute of Mathematics, Departments of Engineering and the Biomimetics and Biomaterials program in the NYU Dental School. The NYU MRSEC enjoys substantial synergy in two large NYU initiatives – the Molecular Design Institute (MDI) in Chemistry and the Center for Soft Matter Research (CSMR) in Physics – that collectively support materials research spanning length scales ranging from the molecular to the macroscopic. The MRSEC also supports a robust Education and Human Resources program that spans the entire range of academia, with the aim of enhancing science curricula and awareness at the K-12 level, providing unique research experiences for undergraduates and faculty from four-year institutions, and endowing graduate students with skills for communicating science to the public. As such, the NYU MRSEC establishes a unique venture in the New York City region.