Welcome to a new volume of Materials Today as we begin 2015. On writing this issue's Editorial I have just returned from Hong Kong and a fantastic conference in the form of Materials Today Asia. I’d like to begin by thanking all of those that were able to join us and contribute to the meeting, especially conference chair Prof. C. T. Liu, and Session Chairs Profs Kam Leong, T. G. Nieh, Mingwei Chen and Steve Zinkle. The Chairs put together a truly stellar program, including invited contributions from Nicholas A. Peppas, Manish Chhowalla, Jonah Erlebacher, Qikun Xue, David Grainger, Prof. Eduard Arzt, Jackie Ying, Antonio Facchetti, Dan Luo and Stanley Whittingham, to name just a few.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the winners of the conference contribution awards, as selected by the session chairs. And so congratulations to the Advanced Materials and Processing session winner Masahiko Ando (Hitachi Ltd, Japan) for the oral presentation ‘Possible static disorder induced charge localization in crystalline molecular semiconductors’; Biomaterials session winner Yongmee Jung (Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Republic of Korea) for the oral presentation ’Self-assembling peptide nanofiber coupled with neuropeptide substance P for stem cell recruitment’; Materials for Energy session winner Han Gao (University of Toronto, Canada) for the oral presentation ‘Advanced proton conducting polymer electrolytes and their applications in solid supercapacitors’; and Nanoscience and Technology session winner Yoshinori Sato, Tohoku University, Japan for the poster presentation ‘Photo-thermoelectric power of single-walled carbon nanotube films’. And of course congratulations to the Materials Today Conference Award Winner, Professor Mingwei Chen. Professor Chen was selected for the award by Conference Chair, Prof C. T. Liu for his outstanding contribution to the field of materials science.

But on to this issue: As always, starting and closing is our Uncovered feature, and the first winner of our annual cover competition; where Srikanth Chakaravarthy and colleagues examine Look-alike Nanocorals. And in this issue's comment article, Andrew Barron considers developing new processes as a route to attaining cost reduction targets for photovoltaic manufacturing.

In reviews, we begin by looking at The winding road for carbon nanotubes in nanomedicine, as Maurizio Prato and colleagues review the fate of pristine functionalized carbon nanotubes in biological settings. Next, Oleg V. Yazyev and Andras Kis present a short history of research in the synthesis, band properties and potential applications of two-dimensional semiconductors in MoS2and semiconductors in the flatland. Turning to energy, Matthew Greaney and Richard Brutchey highlight the major research advances and the state-of-the-art in hybrid bulk heterojunction solar cells with respect to ligand engineering, in Ligand engineering in hybrid polymer: nanocrystal solar cells. And finally, as researchers look toward the applications of metamaterials, Kebin Fan and Willie Padilla review Dynamic electromagnetic metamaterials.

As always, enjoy this issue of Materials Today.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2014.12.014