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History and Mission of the Materials Research Facilities Network

The Materials Research Facilities Network (MRFN) is a collaborative effort, initially established between the NSF Materials Science Research and Engineering Center (MRSEC) facilities at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), the University of Minnesota, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the University of Southern Mississippi, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, which focused on increasing the visibility and usage of analytical and computational instrumental centers within the materials, engineering, and overall greater scientific community. The Network has expanded to include 25 of 30 MRSECs, spanning the US and including X open-access Shared Experimental Facilities, which are documented on this site.

The overall goal of the MRFN is to function as a national network that supports and promotes the growth of the materials science field in the US, as well as increase its ability to compete internationally. Each center will address the growing need for advanced characterization and computational tools from both academic (large and small colleges) and industrial scientists in materials research. By providing users with unprecedented access to instruments, techniques and collaborators in order to enhance their studies of the synthesis, characterization and theory of materials, the individual MRSEC facilities will integrate the capabilities of materials research centers into a cooperating network.
In an effort to become a role model for MRSEC networks in general, the success of the MRFN provides enhanced coordination between MRSEC’s, as well as greater exposure of the benefits of the MRSEC program, to the larger materials society. Additionally, the MRSEC Facilities Network will be further promoted to the broad materials community with a focus on both primarily undergraduate and minority serving institutions, while also building inter-MRSEC collaborations.