Vicki Hodder | Publications Lead | UL Research Institutes
Materials Discovery Research Institute
at UL Research Institutes
The Materials Discovery Research Institute (MDRI) at UL Research Institutes works to develop and deploy new materials with the potential to address the increasingly urgent safety science challenges the world now faces.
Led by Dr. Stuart R. Miller, MDRI was publicly launched in September 2022 as part of a broad expansion in both the scope and scale of research undertaken by UL Research Institutes (ULRI) in pursuit of its mission of working for a safer world. ULRI is focusing its collective expertise on three of the world’s grand challenges — those of producing resilience for a sustainable future, advancing individual and societal health in today’s world, and mitigating as well as understanding the risks that digital systems pose.
Dr. Stuart R. Miller, Vice President and Executive Director, Materials Discovery Research Institute
“We are creating a state-of-the-art research institute to enable the intelligent design of materials with unique chemical composition and structures that will enable the storage of energy from renewable sources, more plentiful water, and healthier air. Materials discovery is an essential area of chemistry to alleviate public safety challenges.”
-Stuart Miller, a longtime materials scientist serving as MDRI’s inaugural vice president and executive director
In its effort to discover and characterize materials that address those challenges, MDRI studies materials at the atomic, nano, and meso scales while at the same time seeking to reduce or eliminate any potential adverse health and safety impacts associated with them. MDRI’s safety science mission incorporates support for the safe and equitable use of novel materials throughout the world.
MDRI’s research approach harnesses the power of advanced computing and modern experimental methods, using automated high-throughput experimental techniques capable of rapidly analyzing and synthesizing new materials to accelerate the pace of discovery. High-powered computational tools are used to simultaneously evaluate numerous potential materials with complex simulations — generating results more rapidly than traditional “single experiment” materials discovery approaches.
Among the institute’s top priorities is research designed to reduce the harmful impacts of humanity’s reliance upon fossil fuel resources and enable a transition to renewable energy sources. MDRI seeks novel materials to serve as foundations for carbon capture — that is, the reduction of carbon dioxide and methane emissions by capturing and storing them at their source — and water harvesting techniques that would produce clean water by extracting it from the air.
MDRI also will further education and engagement on the topic of materials safety with policymakers, manufacturers, and consumers, helping to ensure that they make informed decisions on the adoption and implementation of specific technologies.