International Materials Institute
for New Functionality in Glass

About us

Growth of IMI-NFG global network

Countries: Australia Brazil Canada China Czech Republic Denmark Egypt France Germany Greece Hungary India Ireland Israel Italy Japan Nigeria Oman Poland Portugal Romania Russia Senegal South Korea Spain Taiwan Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom U.S.A
Our network expands over 35 countries worldwide.

Australia · Brazil · Bulgaria · Canada · China · Czech Republic · Denmark · Egypt · Estonia · Finland · France · Germany · Greece · Hungary · India · Ireland · Israel · Italy · Japan · Nigeria · Oman · Poland · Portugal · Romania · Russia · Senegal · South Korea · Slovakia · Spain · Switzerland · Taiwan · Turkey · Ukraine · United Kingdom · U.S.A

Click on map to enlarge.

Research Exchanges Int'l Conference Travel Scholarships REU Board of Advisors
The International Materials Institute for New Functionality in Glass (IMI-NFG) was established in August 2004 through an initiative of the National Science Foundation for enhancing research collaborations between US researchers and educators and their counterparts worldwide. It is also a collaboration between Lehigh University and Penn State University.

Mission Statement

"To focus, coordinate and promote educational and research activities across the globe to introduce new functionality in glass"

Purpose and Aims of IMI

More than half of the engineering marvels of the 20th century that made the greatest impact on the quality of life have relied on the exceptional properties and fabrication methods available with inorganic glass.

To advance fundamental materials research by coordinating international research and education projects involving materials physics; solid state and materials chemistry; and the design, synthesis, characterization, and processing of materials.
IMI aims to ensure that glass continues to meet the needs and challenges of future technologies through its unique combination of properties, processing/fabrication methods and relatively low cost.

For glass to remain competitive also in the future, IMI-NFG is

  • facilitating international collaborations of fundamental and applied research, which will introdcue new functionalities in glass
  • developing multimedia products and delivering them across the borders to educate next generation of glass researchers and engineers
  • promoting the appreciation of glass as a high-tech material among pre-college students and other research communities

Long term goal

Creation of a worldwide network of materials R & D with a new generation of scientists and engineers skilled in enhanced international leadership capabilities. A critically important aspect of an IMI is advancing materials research on an international scale and developing an internationally competitive generation of materials researchers.

In 2002 NSF’s Division of Materials Research (DMR) announced plans to create the first new IMIs, each targeted to a specific opportunity for international technical collaboration. Our IMI, focused on New Functionality ion Glass, was the third such IMI and was first announced in December 2003 (IMI for NFG).

Concerns For the Glass Research in the United States

  • During the last two decades worldwide there has been a severe fragmentation of glass research
  • Elimination of many industrial laboratories
  • Shift of governmental funding to nano and biosciences
  • Also in academia, with the retirement of senior leaders at the traditional academic centers and a concurrent hiring of solo faculty at a much larger number of institutions

Need for Action

The future of glass is promising, but to remain competitive there is an urgent need for well defined, targeted efforts by the glass community to:

  1. Coordinate fundamental and applied research activities that will introduce new functionalities
  2. Pool resources to educate the next generation of researchers and engineers who will have the in-depth glass knowledge and expertise to contribute effectively
  3. Stimulate communication between the glass and other research communities that may benefit from the existing glass functionalities and/or birth opportunities for new glass functions
  4. Outreach to the K-12 (especially the pre-college) students to share the importance, relevance and ubiquity of glass in their lives as well as the opportunities and excitement that lie ahead for the future material scientists and engineers


The field of glass science and engineering will have a promising future if it can proactively respond to the changing culture of research and education. NSF's new IMI-NFG offers unprecedented opportunity for the glass community to meet the challenges via: International Collaborations, Delivery of education across the boundaries, Outreach to undergraduates and pre-college students via modules, hands-on experiments, etc.

Most importantly, we need participation of the glass community! Comments, suggestions, queries are most welcome.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number DMR-0844014.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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International Materials Institute
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