Newswise — Do you work with rare earths or other critical materials? Do you need access to information, expertise and networking opportunities about them? The Critical Materials Institute, a U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hub led by the Ames Laboratory, is looking to strengthen its network of industrial, commercial, educational and government partners through a newly revamped and lower-cost affiliate membership program.

Rare earths and other critical materials play a vital role in many modern clean-energy technologies--- such as wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient lighting. CMI’s research efforts target three goals: diversifying supply, discovering substitute materials, and developing tools and processes for recycling materials.

“Industrial collaboration is a strong indicator of future success for the institute,” said CMI Director Alex King. “We have seen over and over again that participation and feedback from manufacturers about our research translates into marketable technologies in a much shorter time frame than traditional methods. We want to make that collaboration even more accessible now.”

CMI’s affiliate program is designed to strengthen its think-tank approach to technological challenges by creating a network of partnerships. Benefits to the improved affiliate program include:

Priority notification of inventions available for licensing, to the extent allowed by Fairness of Opportunity requirementsNetworking with other CMI affiliates, members, and researchersInvitations to CMI annual meetings, and workshopsOpportunities to interact with and potentially recruit CMI students and post-doctoral studentsCMI bi-weekly newsletters, and monthly webinarsPartnering for new funding opportunitiesOpportunities to expand engagement under appropriate contractual termsParticipation on the CMI Industry CouncilU.S. start-up companies, non-profits, universities, and FFRDCs may join the affiliate program for a $500 annual fee. For all others, the fee is $2500. U.S. Federal agencies can participate without fee. For more information about the affiliate program benefits, contact Stacy Joiner at [email protected] or 515-294-5932.

The Critical Materials Institute is a Department of Energy Innovation Hub led by the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory. CMI seeks ways to eliminate and reduce reliance on rare-earth metals and other materials critical to the success of clean energy technologies.

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.

Ames Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit