The innovation engine for new materials

General Information

The Dow Materials Institute (DowMI) at UCSB was established in October 2011 with funding from the Dow Chemical Company of up to $15 million over 5 years. Dow leads the US chemical industry with a diversified portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials and plastics businesses. Dow’s investment recognizes UCSB's position as a top-ranked US university in the field of materials, and will help support our mission of training and educating the next generation of scientists and engineers.


The DowMI is primarily housed in the Materials Research Laboratory (MRL), a National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) renowned for its highly interdisciplinary and collaborative environment. The four founding teams are led by faculty from Materials, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and each project has two Dow scientists, a project manager and a subject matter expert, who provide industrial insight to guide the research. The projects are linked by the concept of function by structural design, with focus areas ranging from high performance niche polymers, to new capabilities of commodity plastics, and through to detailed understanding of polymers and small molecules at interfaces. In addition, the DowMI is looking to support a number of smaller Seed Projects that address priority research areas identified by Dow.


The activities of the DowMI are overseen by Director, Craig J. Hawker, Professor of Chemistry and Materials, with the assistance of Program Coordinator, Jess Henry. The strategic focus for the institute is reviewed annually and new Seed Projects will be selected for support by the DowMI Steering Committee, which has equal representation from both UCSB and Dow Chemical.


The DowMI is committed to strengthening the partnership between UCSB and the Dow Chemical Company. In addition to research, Dow Chemical and the DowMI support many other activities across the UCSB campus. Amongst these programs are the Dow Discovery Fellowships for outstanding chemical engineering graduate students, the Dow-UCSB Safety Initiative, Graduate Students for Diversity in Science, and UCSB’s highly successful New Venture Competition>>LEARN MORE