This week, at time of writing, I have just returned from attending my first industry-focused conference, in the form of PowderMet 2015. While still a conference in the usual sense, the event was more focused on technical advances of benefit to industrial application (in this case the metal powder industry) than the academic conferences I more frequently attend. Regular readers of these Editorials and users of the Materials Today website will no doubt be familiar with the MT remit of helping connecting materials communities, and now the expanded remit of including industry, beyond research; and the conference provided a fresh perspective on how to foster collaboration between academics and industry figures, including technical, management and even sales personnel.

The event was an enjoyable experience, not least because of the people I was able to meet, but also because of the opportunity to experience something a little different. But perhaps what was most surprising, at least for me, about attending such an industry event was the number of similarities between the two types of community. At least in terms of the types of information that needs to be shared amongst and between different groups, and the manner that information is shared. And so while looking more toward the industrial applications of materials is somewhat of a new step for both myself and the MT team, it seems that it's actually a much smaller and familiar step than one might imagine, and the first on a journey I’m glad to be exploring as we work on building bridges between communities and supporting collaboration.

But musings aside and on to this issue of the journal, where the focus is still very much on the scientific side of materials; we begin and close with our cover features, this issue looking at Encapsulation architecture for energy storage, in the form of transition metal oxide and conductive polymer nanocomposites, which you can read more about in our Uncovered article by Li Zhang and colleagues. Our Comment this issue Matt Beekman considers New hopes for allotropes, at a time when recent theoretical and experimental discoveries suggest improved photovoltaic performance might be realized via novel crystalline modifications of elemental silicon. And of course you can find more Comments on Moving on to reviews, we begin with a review and suggested design principles of Biomaterial based modulation of macrophage polarization by Fergal J. O’Brien et al. Next Chunhai Fan and colleagues summarize recent advances on design and fabrication of static and dynamic DNA nanostructures, and their use as linkers or templates for the assembly of plasmonic nanostructures, in DNA-based plasmonic nanostructures. Jong-Hyun Ahn and co-workers look at Graphene as a flexible electronic material and consider the types of defects in CVD graphene generated during the growth and handling stage, as well as fracture behaviors, direct and indirect defect detection methods and work to overcome the associate limitations. Finally, Vanchiappan Aravindan et al. describes the overall research activities focused on developing high-performance Li-ion batteries (LIBs) fabricated with various TiO2 polymorphs as insertion anodes in TiO2polymorphs in “rocking-chair” Li-ion batteries.

And so, until next time, we hope you enjoy this issue of Materials Today.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2015.06.002