I do hope your research endeavours prove fruitful with new and exciting breakthroughs just over the horizon in 2009! Whilst we are on the subject of exciting news what do you think about the allocation of more funding to researchers? What about opening up more doors to students to study higher degrees?

On both sides of the Atlantic, in the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively, two unprecedented initiatives have been launched to boost scientific research. On September 30th 2008, the US National Science Foundation (NSF) announced 14 Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC), including five brand new centers for research in sustainable energy, bio- and soft-materials, next generation electronics and photonics. The aim is to support outstanding multi- and interdisciplinary research, to foster active collaboration among universities, industry and national laboratories and to promote the progress of materials science and education in important and timely areas.

Two months later, on the December 5th 2008, the British minister of State for Science and Innovation announced a £250 million initiative to create 44 world leading doctoral training centers across the UK and generate over 2000 PhD students in all sectors of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It will trigger a new wave of scientists and engineers tackling some of the most topical problems such as climate change, energy and high-tech crime currently facing Britain and the world as a whole. Several centers will also be primarily focused on nanotechnology and materials science amongst which Cambridge University, Imperial, University College London, and the universities of Bristol and Surrey.

Mottoes such as ‘build a strong economy’, ‘keep us globally competitive’, and ‘help further our economic competitiveness’ are obviously part of the picture and equally present in both American and British announcements. But isn't it refreshing to witness governments willing to invest in highly skilled individuals and train the next generation of researchers? As Professor Dave Delpy, chief executive of EPSRC said ‘People are the heart of our future strategy’.

For the meantime, I hope you will enjoy this first 2009 issue dedicated to crystallography and metallic glasses. You will probably notice a few changes flicking through the magazine or browsing online. An event diary has been added in the printed version, and we introduced a new section on the website, ‘Art and Science’, featuring each month a different piece of artwork created by artist Julie Freeman in collaboration with Professor Jeremy Ramsden, from Cranfield University. We are eager to hear your feedback!


Read full text on ScienceDirect

DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(09)70021-5