New Collaborative Initiative for Materials Research

Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce a major initiative to develop a world-class materials science research enterprise at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

The Initiative for Materials Research at Rutgers University (iMR@RU) will work across the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering with the overall goal of raising the university’s competitiveness and national visibility in this emerging and increasingly important field.

Materials research connects the biological, mathematical, and physical sciences and engineering, and has helped spur advances in many areas, from microscopy to lasers and LEDs to medical devices and implants that save millions of lives. 

This important step follows the recommendations of a faculty task force that assessed existing programs at Rutgers and benchmarked them against top programs at peer universities.  

Unique in its approach and vision, the iMR@RU will be led by three faculty leaders committed to “bottom-up” outreach to all interested faculty at both schools as well as at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

Joachim Kohn, Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry, will serve as the inaugural Chair. He will be supported by Jak Chakhalian, Professor Claud Lovelace Endowed Chair in Experimental Physics, and Stephen Tse, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. These three founding faculty leaders cover a diverse range of important areas of materials research and are committed to the mission of propelling collaborative research and strengthening the institutional impacts in this field.

The iMR@RU will identify a broad range of funding opportunities and private sector partnerships. Additional responsibilities include organizing workshops, symposia, and outreach efforts to increase the visibility of Rutgers materials research and build communities of faculty.  As the initiative grows, the iMR@RU will reach out to leading materials scientists and research programs nationwide to help build national teams that can compete for major funding opportunities.

One of the first priorities to build institutional capacity in advanced materials is the development of research teams at Rutgers to generate proposals. The Office of the Chancellor and the Arts and Sciences and Engineering Deans have provided seed funding to partially support the formation of teams and initial research.

We are pleased to share this announcement with the campus and we welcome Rutgers faculty to actively engage with the materials initiative.  Faculty with interests in the broad area of materials research are invited to contact Professor Joachim Kohn ( to learn more about how they can participate in and benefit from the initiative. Over the next few weeks the iMR@RU will establish a dedicated web-based collaboration tool and begin the formation of working groups around major funding initiatives. 

These are the first steps to catalyze what we anticipate will become a new model for excellence in materials research across Rutgers. 


Thank you,

Thomas Farris
School of Engineering

Peter March
Executive Dean
School of Arts and Sciences

Prabhas V. Moghe
Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation
Rutgers University–New Brunswick