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Mission Innovation Holds Deep-Dive Expert Workshop


Top scientists identify priority research opportunities in energy materials innovation

Last week, Mission Innovation’s (MI’s) Clean Energy Materials Innovation Challenge held an international experts’ workshop on a fundamental element that underpins advancements in all energy areas: materials discovery. From 11–14 September, over 130 attendees representing 17 countries and the European Commission gathered in Mexico City to support the Innovation Challenge’s goal of accelerating the exploration, discovery, and use of new, high-performance, low-cost clean energy materials by at least ten times. Leading scientists from throughout the world identified and explored the most promising basic research opportunities for realizing this goal.

The meeting followed the workshop methodology developed for MI based on the proven model of Basic Research Needs workshops in the United States. The MI workshop was sponsored by the Mexican Ministry of Energy (SENER) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), and Co-Chaired by Professors Alán Aspuru-Guzik and Kristin Persson. SENER Deputy Secretary for Planning and Energy Transition Leonardo Beltrán Rodríguez opened the event, which took place along with Mexico’s Energy Summit “Dialogues for the Future of Energy Mexico” (DEMEX).

Attendees at the Clean Energy Materials Innovation Challenge workshop on 11 Sept 2017 in Mexico City.

In MI’s first deep-dive workshop among the seven MI Innovation Challenge topics, participants engaged in technical discussions on combining advanced theoretical and applied physical chemistry with next-generation computing, machine learning, and robotics, with the aim of developing an integrated materials innovation approach. The workshop focused on organic and inorganic functional materials, nanomaterials, and composites.

The workshop was led by the Co-Chairs Professor Kristin Persson of University of California-Berkeley and Professor Alán Aspuru-Guzik of Harvard University.
Workshop Co-Chairs Professor Kristin Persson of University of California-Berkeley and Professor Alán Aspuru-Guzik of Harvard University.

Among the more than 130 attendees were 55 professors and scientists from top universities and research institutions, six keynote speakers and panelists—including Nobel Laureate Dr. Mario Molina, 11 country representatives from Mission Innovation (Canada, Denmark, EU, India, Italy, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, UK, and the US), and more than 50 students and observers from the private and public sectors. Attendees were from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, UK, and the US.

Workshop results will be published in a detailed report that includes the scientists’ insights on basic research challenges and opportunities for dramatically accelerating clean energy materials innovation. The report will inform policymakers and other stakeholders regarding research investments and for soliciting and supporting projects that take advantage of these opportunities. The report will be published on the MI website and distributed to the 23 MI members and research institutions worldwide by end of 2017.

For more information, contact Clean Energy Materials Challenge Executive Chair and Mexico lead Dr. Hermann Tribukait (htribukait.fse AT, U.S. co-lead Maureen Clapper (maureen.clapper AT, or workshop local chair Professor Carlos Amador Bedolla (carlos.amador AT

View photos from the workshop here.