National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) (Sukekatsu Ushioda, President) worked out a strategy to incorporate data science methodology into materials science and thereby accelerate the development of new materials and stimulate industrial innovation. This project was selected for the Support program for starting up innovation hub sponsored by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). On July 1, an open innovation hub for promoting research for materials development was set up at NIMS under the name of “Materials research by Information Integration” Initiative (MI2I).
There is currently a trend toward evolving materials science into the fourth field of science — information-integrated science. Companies that have successfully implemented this change in new materials design ahead of others will have an overwhelming advantage in patent races and international competition. To achieve such evolution, it is necessary to devise venturous new methods and develop a dataplatform integrating a massive amount of data in materials science as databases, the cutting-edge data science, information science and mathematics. There is a call for intensive actions being taken through concerted efforts among the industry, academia, and society.
With a view to promoting such movements, NIMS, a core organization in materials science, established an open innovation hub for carrying out new materials research, which is to be called MI2I. The new hub will be engaged in  building user-friendly databases regarding crystal structures, electronic and phononic structures, microstructures, interfaces and characteristics of materials; and  developing data science tools for data retrieval and visualization, machine learning, statistical analysis, and simulation. These tools will be combined into packages as a dataplatform for new materials search and design and put into practice in the process of materials development. Thus, the hub is aimed at quickly developing and providing effective solutions for materials-related challenges and needs in industry. The challenges that it will tackle initially include, for example, the development of materials for rechargeable batteries, magnetic materials, and materials for heat-transfer control, which will have a broad impact in society. A wide range of organizations will participate in this hub, namely, 17 companies, 14 university, and 12 research institutes (including 5 overseas research institutes), and researchers will be recruited using the cross-appointment system.
We plan to extend the areas of materials science by introducing basic technology in artificial intelligence, seeking to establish an information-integrated materials development system within NIMS. We will also carry out the development, accumulation and dissemination of new materials research methods as well as the development of relevant human resources systematically, working toward the sustainable development of the hub.