Theme 6: Global Context

To become leaders, and to deploy the design capability effectively in the future, over 80 researchers trained in the Centre must understand the broader context – that is, what are the socioeconomic drivers for discovering new materials?

This question is complex: there are many interrelated drivers, such as resource sustainability, the need to replace toxic or rare elements, and the search for materials to produce cleaner energy. Researchers leaving this Centre to apply its design capability will therefore face difficult choices about which problems to work on, and why.

We will research these socioeconomic drivers and disseminate the findings in training workshops to the whole Centre team. The outcomes will also be disseminated externally (publications, policy papers, and Ph.D. theses). Research and associated training packages will include evaluation of the ‘Top 10’ materials challenges for society, materials solutions for clean energy, and societal issues, such as water supply in developing countries.

The Centre’s vision is to create a design revolution in functional materials, not the practical development of materials, but the global context is a great motivator for advancing our basic design capability, and it can also stimulate new design questions and new hypotheses.