The Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Tel Aviv University (TAU) was formally founded in August 2013. However, organized activity in this area began in TAU in 1994 with the establishment of the Wolfson Applied Materials Research Centre, currently harboring 50 research groups on campus.
In April 2002, the "Materials Science and Engineering" graduate program was launched as a joint initiative of the Faculty of Engineering and the Schools of Chemistry and Physics from the Faculty of Exact Sciences. This program became the largest of its kind in Israel, and the admission level raised significantly over the years. In July 2009, it was replaced by the "Materials and Nanotechnology" graduate program, offering both MSc and PhD degrees. This unique program in Israel was a joint venture of four Faculties (Engineering, Exact Sciences, Life Sciences, and Medicine) and of the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. This kind of multidisciplinary approach was made possible thanks to the unique structure and character of Tel Aviv University.
These graduate programs enabled the University to build a firm foundation for teaching and research in the area, by concentrating all the relevant courses on campus under one umbrella, opening new courses, encouraging multidisciplinary research, providing student scholarships, and optimizing the purchase of scientific literature and relevant software libraries in materials science and engineering. To date, more than 250 MSc students and 12 PhD students have graduated or are currently enrolled in these programs. The number of students pursuing advanced degrees related to materials at Tel Aviv University is even higher, since there are also students enrolled through other academic units that do research under the guidance of supervisors in the materials programs.
In December 2013 it was decided to transfer the responsability of these advanced degree programs to the new Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering. The name of the new program will be the same as the name of the Department. Starting October 2014, a new undergraduate program that integrates materials science and engineering and chemistry will be launched. This program was designed carefully, analyzing the expectations of the modern age from materials engineers and examining the curricula of leading international departments.
In addition to the core faculty of the Department, whose number will grow in coming years, there are faculty members that will have an affiliation to the Department; these are faculty from the School of Electrical Engineering, the School of Mechanical Engineering, the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the School of Chemistry, the School of Physics and Astronomy, and the Faculty of Life Sciences. Other faculty on campus who have a strong affinity to the field of materials and who are world leaders in their fields will also guide research projects for undergraduate and graduate studies, and will contribute to teaching. This approach is unique in Israel, and it allows the expression of the the multidisciplinarity of the field of materials in modern times.
International Advisory Board
The new Department also pioneers the appointment of an International Advisory Board. This committee consists of 11 scientists in the field of materials, all of whom are winners of prestigious international awards such as the Nobel Prize and the Wolf Prize. They represent first-class institutions from the U.S., Europe, China, and India. The committee will assist the Department in its objectives to be at the forefront of science and technology and to offer degrees with international reputation.
A presentation of the Department can be found here.