DIADEM, a PEPR for innovative materials

In what way will the materials be a strategic domain and what will be the role of artificial intelligence in your PEPR DIADEM?

Mario Magleon: In the face of today’s and tomorrow’s social challenges around energy, transportation, energy or digital transformation or even health, rapid discovery of new materials is essential. These are metals, functional materials, nano-materials … for example, it took decades to develop and market the modern batteries in our telephones: today, we no longer have the time, the environmental urgency and the social problems that plague the entire planet. Affects. You need to be able to go much faster. And assemblies of these components or materials are becoming increasingly complex, requiring a number of parameters to be considered in order to synthesize them, to characterize them, and to optimize their structural or functional properties. But today we have the technology needed to meet all these challenges: artificial intelligence, rapid synthesis and characterization tools, digital simulation and the ability to handle large amounts of data, automation and robotization, coupling production and thin film engineering. The development of materials must take full advantage of this.

Furthermore, increasing the scope of laboratory synthesis in this way will start a new, faster industrial process with less environmental impact. Led by CNRS and CEA, in partnership with 7 academic partners, PEPR DIADEM must integrate environmental and social aspects as well as promote a competitive path for French industry to compete and contribute to France’s economic development.

Therefore, the goal of PEPR Diadem is to accelerate the identification of strategic materials. How are you going to do it?

MM: To accelerate the discovery and marketing of innovative materials – we hope by a factor of two to five – our strategy is based on the installation of high-end fixed equipment in France for a budget of about 40 M. For this, we are going to create “Open Materials Discovery Hub”, a network of four platforms that have been distributed and integrated across the region. These platforms will be the center of expertise in sophisticated equipment in high-throughput synthesis and characterization, and in multi-scale digital simulation, as well as, in particular, a database infrastructure with storage and learning tools. Everyone will use artificial intelligence equipment and provide access to the quality infrastructure that France already has. They will have different structures and will experiment with different models to determine which could be the value of the research community.

From these platforms, but above all from their combination, the ability to innovate and innovate in physics will be created. To prove this, internationally recognized French scientists will conduct “demonstration” projects based on the platforms (See box) Involving 3 to 4 laboratories in 2 to 4 years, they will demonstrate that the platforms allow the discovery of original materials with innovative methodological approach.

Finally, there will be a strong link with PEPR Center for “AI for Science and Science for AI” It was recently launched by CNRS and one of its founders, Alexander Legris, Deputy Scientific Director of the CNRS Institute of Chemistry, is also part of the Diadem Steering Committee.

How will the relevant research community be able to submit its ideas and fund its projects with DIADEM?

MM: The lion’s share of the budget for scientific projects will be devoted to three projects where the entire French community related to materials and AI, about 4,000 scientists can respond. The same community has been called upon to determine the theme of these calls by mid-2023, particularly through the CNRS Research Group (GDR), our partner universities and a council of currently established international experts. Thus we will select about thirty projects for an overall budget of 32 32 million from 2024. These projects will have to rely on equipment installed by PEPR, which is expected to be operational by 2024. Beyond the scientific criteria, the international nature of the projects will be given an important place, especially in the field of cooperation in Europe.

A call for interest is also planned. On what theme?

MM: The call will be dedicated to the initial and ongoing training of French scientists with a budget of 3 million. We are already considering links to national and international masters and doctoral schools, and schools will be held regularly throughout the program, depending on existing European networks who are already interested in these topics. But we are open to good ideas from the community. The goal is that by the end of PEPR, at least one-third of the French materials research community will consider AI an important research tool for everyday use. And it requires effective training at all levels.

What is the position of France in this area with global challenges?

MM: With the introduction of the Material Genome Initiative (MGI) in 2010, the United States was a pioneer, and China and Japan were also very active. In Europe, programs similar to PEPR DIADEM already exist, such as in Germany (FAIRmat project) or Switzerland (Marvel project), and digital issues are at the center of discussions, for example EOSC project Focused on opening scientific information. During the DIADEM assembly, we started discussions with FAIRmat, MARVEL and MGI. France is competing at the European level, in particular. ” In Silico (Computer equipment, simulation, data). In terms of publications and patents, the performance of CNRS and CEA is recognized, especially in cases such as addition production or high-throughput synthesis. The laboratories invested in DIADEM are already involved in about twenty European projects. But it’s time to dump her and move on. This is the goal of PEPR: to ensure that scientists meet, discuss and move forward on issues that remain to be addressed.

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