IUMRS History and Mission



1984/1985: An “International Committee” was informally established, to explore a future formal development of a global Materials Research organization.  Leaders of the effort included Woody White, Bob Chang, Elton Kaufmann, Masao Doyama, Paul Siffert, and others.  “The purpose of the Committee is to serve as a vehicle for communication between Societies concerned with Materials Research - not as a governing body, but rather to foster interaction among autonomous regional peer Societies in various parts of the World.”

1984-89: With MRS encouragement and advice, MRS organizations formed independently in Europe, Japan, China, Mexico, Taiwan, India, Australia, and others also developed.

1990-91:  Formal establishment of the International Union of Materials Research Societies, with formal incorporation in Pennsylvania, and accounting and banking services generously provided by MRS. The new Union was specifically to be modeled on IUPAP and IUPAC. Founding members were MRS, E-MRS, Chinese MRS, Mexican MRS, MRS-Taiwan, MRS India and the Australian MRS.

Development and Progress

Adhering Bodies: The Founding members were since joined by MRS Russia, MRS Singapore, MRS Korea, MRS Brazil, MRS Argentina, and MRS Africa.

Institutional Affiliates: This category of membership was established in 2002. It was intended to provide a path of communication and collaboration between institutions and organizations with Materials Research interests all over the world. Affiliates included national laboratories in the U.S. and in Europe, and research institutions in Asia. This program is now expanding fast to embrace many independent organizations world-wide.

Meetings: Series of International Technical Meetings that are hosted by individual Adhering Bodies, with IUMRS endorsement and cooperation have become fixtures in the Materials Calendar. They include ICEM, ICAM, ICA, and ICMAT. 

Award: The Somiya Award for distinguished international collaborative Materials Research has become a prized international landmark.

Publications: The Quarterly Newsletter “Facets” was first published in 2002, as a high level print journal presenting news and reviews representing the status of the Materials Research enterprise, worldwide. It was developed and edited by Elton Kaufmann, at his offices at Argonne National Lab. “Facets” developed a substantial subscribership, and it also served as a flagship publication for IUMRS and as a member benefit for Adhering Bodies and Institutional Affiliates. Its publication was suspended in 2006, due to cost of production, with the intent to create a fully electronic equivalent, to more effectively serve the broad international community. 

ICSU Membership: In 2005, sensing its readiness for this elevated international involvement, IUMRS made formal application for Full International Scientific Union Member status in ICSU (The International Council for Science). ICSU has just 29 such International Union Members.  At the ICSU General Assembly Meeting that year, the IUMRS application was accepted with acclaim. IUMRS has since participated in current ICSU activities, and is currently developing specific efforts to contribute the Materials perspective in future global study projects that ICSU conducts. IUMRS considers that it has a unique and substantial role to play in such top-tier studies of globally important science issues. 

Contributor:  John Baglin


The International Union of Materials Research Societies was established in 1991 as an international association of technical groups or societies which have an interest in promoting interdisciplinary materials research and education.

Union Objectives

  • Facilitate international cooperation among materials research organizations
  • Contribute to the advancement of materials research in all its aspects
  • Advance the multidisciplinary nature of materials research internationally
  • Promote information exchange among national or regional societies with interests in interdisciplinary materials research and work to coordinate their activities
  • Promote communication of international materials research activities through appropriate media
  • Encourage well established materials research symposia to rotate through available meeting sites of materials research societies.

Union Initiatives

  • Foster the establishment of national or regional groups or societies whose primary interest is in interdisciplinary materials research
  • Provide information to developing materials research societies or groups concerning services that may be available from established societies or groups
  • Organize and provide sponsorship for international materials research meetings and related events, such as workshops, summer schools, topical meetings, etc., on subjects falling within the scope of the Union
  • Set up commissions or committees for special projects
  • Participate in joint commissions with other scientific bodies in matters of interest to the Union.

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