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MPC associate director visits Collegium members in Asia

Mark Beals, in collaboration with the MIT Industrial Liaison Program, visited Thailand, Taiwan and Japan in early April.
Materials Processing Center Associate Director Mark Beals.
Materials Processing Center Associate Director Mark Beals.
Photo: Denis Paiste, Materials Processing Center

MPC Associate Director Mark Beals, in collaboration with the MIT Industrial Liaison Program (ILP), brought news of current MIT faculty research to MPC's Industry Collegium members, interested businesses and universities during a 10-day visit to Thailand, Taiwan and Japan in early April.

"Typically we communicate with our guests from industry, as well as Collegium members, when they visit us in Cambridge, but the benefit of collaborating with the Industrial Liaison Program is that it enables us to travel to their home locations and meet with our member representatives along with their fellow colleagues and research teams. This is particularly important to support MIT's larger global presence," Beals said.

"MIT is an institution of students from around the world and after their education here, many of them return to their home countries and build their careers there. As a result, we have a community of people working throughout the world and who have an interest in what's going on at MIT especially if there is related research that may impact them 10 to 15 years down the road, and an opportunity to interact with us," he said.

Beals visited Bangkok, Thailand; Taipei, Taiwan; and Tokyo, Japan, from April 1-11. His presentations covered research in carbon nanotubes by MIT professors Brian Wardle, Yang Shao Horn and Carl Thompson, who is also the director of the Materials Processing Center; anti-fogging polymer coatings by Michael Rubner and Robert Cohen; silicon photonics by Lionel Kimerling and Senior Research Associate Jurgen Michel; solar thermal photovoltaic research by Gang Chen and the Solid State Solar Thermal Energy Conversion Center; graphene by Pablo Jarillo-Herrero; and other research by Marin Soljacic; Evelyn Wang; Sang Gook Kim; Antoine Allanore; Don Sadoway and Katharina Ribbeck, among others. Topics highlighted were adapted for each seminar based on the interests of the companies in attendance.

Beals said he is grateful to the large number of faculty who provided updated and current information about their research for him to share in his seminars in Asia. "For me it was a dual honor, both an honor to go and meet with our companies in their home locations but also as the ambassador of MIT and the faculty associated with the MPC and representing updates of their work, making a lot of people aware of what they are doing," Beals said.

"What we hope is through the seminar presentations and subsequent discussions we can open up dialogues and that will stimulate further interest for collaboration and lead to meaningful interactions, exchange of ideas and the opportunity to address those challenges in research with our faculty and students," he said.

Beals focused on energy-related research for Siam Cement Group, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in business this year, and also has interests in chemicals and paper, including natural-fiber products. Siam Cement is an ILP member as well as a Collegium member of the Materials Processing Center. Beals also visited PTT Public Company Limited, Thailand's national energy company, which has interests in oil, natural gas and lubricants.

In Taiwan, Beals' host was the Epoch Foundation. Two seminars were hosted while visiting Taiwan. The first was hosted by the Epoch Foundation and included participation by professors and students from National Taiwan University. The Epoch Foundation is made up of 26 Taiwanese companies and actively supports entrepreneurship particularly in new technologies. The second seminar was held at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's Fab 12 R&D Center in Hsinhu.

"Taiwan is a recognized world leader in semiconductor manufacturing through the foundries located here. TSMC is a global foundry leader used by numerous semiconductor chip companies with designs that continually push the limits of the technology," he said.

In Tokyo, Japan, Beals updated local ILP members on materials research associated with the faculty at MIT. Companies represented included Nissan Motor Co., Honda, Osaka Gas, Dai Nippon, Fujitsu, Mitsui, Ricoh, Astellas Pharma and Sekisui. The meeting was held in the Keidanren Kaikan part of Tokyo just outside the Emperor's Palace.

In Taipei, several students expressed an interest in pursuing a graduate education at MIT. "It was very rewarding to see their enthusiasm and interest in the materials research subjects presented and to appreciate that their goals for graduate research and beyond are not necessarily limited by their specific academic coursework but can be applied to many areas. The trip truly represents the strong, supportive relationship that the Materials Processing Center has not only of the faculty but of the community at MIT, particularly the role that ILP serves in working with its industrial sponsors and members. MPC is committed to facilitating and enhancing the relationship with industry and translating research into useful, commercializable technology," Beals said.

The trip was coordinated with MIT ILP senior associate director, corporate relations, Todd Glickman, ILP Japan Director Gregory Ornatowski and ILP Japan Associate Director Keiji Yano.

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