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The material focus in MEP drives research towards a new frontier of material science in 4D Materials. The unique aspect is that 4D Materials, i.e. materials with temporal property variation, driven by external or internal stimuli, encompass not only smart/functional/shape-morphing solid materials but also explicitly include fluid, particulate, multi-phase and phase-transforming materials. The main research thrust is towards microscopic materials design from comprehensive digital multi-scale and multi-fidelity virtual model of hypothetical materials and their transformations in applications, such as in energy conversion, biotechnology, and manufacturing processes. MEP comprehensively addresses design and optimization of 4D Materials by means of including the material transformation through process by passive or active response to internal or external process stimuli into the optimization cycle. Artificial-intelligence enhanced knowledge-based models and simulations are enabling elements for targeted material design from the molecular level throughout the entire scale range. 4D Materials directly connect with additive technologies and the design of material through process, where process driven property transformations of materials unlock new product design dimensions, including additive technologies for hybrid organic-inorganic compounds


Carbon-neutral energy systems require a new comprehensive design strategy. Material pro-duction and component manufacturing enter the system analysis, as does the interaction of the system with the natural environment during its operation. New energy carriers gain im-portance with an expected dominance of electricity besides hydrogen and synfuels. The ob-jective of MEP in this area is to assess energy conversion, storage and supply sustainability bymerging System of Systems (SoS) understanding with the innovation potential of 4D Materials as sustainable energy carriers and renewable energy sources, and by the development of new methods to combine the simulation of natural systems and the energy system. Research on holistic models of energy systems and their interaction will be driven by innovative methods for advanced systems analysis. Such models deliver optimization targets to evaluate the im-pact of 4D Materials at the SoS level throughout all energy sectors. SoS understanding helps to integrate different energy systems and to bridge energy conversion and storage, and ma-terial production. A close cooperation with the e-conversion cluster is anticipated. Another emphasis of the focus area will be on the interaction between energy and food production. The energy-related use of resources is one of the key aspects in the near future and will es-tablish new benchmarks and guidelines.


MEP integrates process engineering with life and medical sciences through a material centered approach. System modeling and prediction help to understand (bio)chemical material conversion and to tailor product properties with target applications in pharmaceutical and industrial biotechnology, medicine, next-generation food and consumer products. For example, bio-printing for precision medicine and future food production is a synergistic field of technology that will be developed at MEP with a particular focus on 4D Materials. MEP furthers innovation in up and downscaling process development for processing and production of high-value bioproducts and material hybrids. Digital approaches and automation concepts are pursued for host-cell fermentation, (bio)catalyst development, cell/biomaterials handling, smart food processing, while system modeling and prediction support sustainable process design.