Located in the heart of Cambridge, UK, the University’s Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy occupies buildings that range from the original home of the Cavendish Laboratory, built in 1873, to a new seminar room completed in 2000. The site is the scene of some of the most significant advances in science, including the discovery of the electron in 1897 and the elucidation of the structure of DNA in 1953. Within these historic, and also more modern buildings, the department’s laboratories are well equipped to characterize and fabricate all types of materials.The department has a large and vigorous research school, with about 100 research fellows, postdoctoral, and visiting scientists, as well as more than 120 research students studying for PhD degrees. The growth in research activities over the past 20 years has been almost exponential, with a current research income of more than $6 million per year and a doubling time of about seven years. Although our research has always been closely linked to industrial needs and supported in large part by industry as well as government, recent trends have seen the development of larger-scale working relationships with major research sponsors such as Rolls-Royce, Regenesys Technologies, and Pfizer. Similarly, the wide range of international contacts, which bring visiting researchers to Cambridge from all over the world, has been extended through formal collaboration agreements with institutions in Switzerland, Singapore, and, most recently, the US via the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI).

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(02)01239-7