The Dow Materials Institute (DowMI) at UCSB was established in October 2011 with funding from the Dow Chemical Company of up to $15 million over 5 years. Dow leads the US chemical industry with a diversified portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials and plastics businesses. Dow’s investment recognizes UCSB’s position as a top-ranked US university in the field of materials, and will help support our mission of training and educating the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The DowMI brings together researchers from across UCSB’s Chemistry, Materials Science, and Engineering departments to work on fundamental challenges that are of interest to industry and academia. The high impact research projects center around the theme of function by structural design, with applications areas that range from next generation microelectronics to high performance commodity polymers.

The center enables the education and training of students and postdocs, and fosters their development in highly interdisciplinary, collaborative teams. The partnership between internationally recognized academics and industry experts serves to both accelerate innovation and help shape future scientific leaders.


The DowMI is primarily housed in the Materials Research Laboratory (MRL), a National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) renowned for its highly interdisciplinary and collaborative environment. The four founding teams are led by faculty from Materials, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and each project has two Dow scientists, a project manager and a subject matter expert, who provide industrial insight to guide the research. The projects are linked by the concept of function by structural design, with focus areas ranging from high performance niche polymers, to new capabilities of commodity plastics, and through to detailed understanding of polymers and small molecules at interfaces. In addition, the DowMI is looking to support a number of smaller Seed Projects that address priority research areas identified by Dow.



The activities of the DowMI are overseen by Director, Craig J. Hawker, Professor of Chemistry and Materials, with the assistance of Program Coordinator, Jess Henry. The strategic focus for the institute is reviewed annually and new Seed Projects will be selected for support by the DowMI Steering Committee, which has equal representation from both UCSB and Dow Chemical.


The DowMI is committed to strengthening the partnership between UCSB and the Dow Chemical Company. In addition to research, Dow Chemical and the DowMI support many other activities across the UCSB campus. Amongst these programs are the Dow Discovery Fellowships for outstanding chemical engineering graduate students, the Dow-UCSB Safety Initiative, Graduate Students for Diversity in Science, and UCSB’s highly successful New Venture Competition.



Publications + Presentations

Publications and presentations of your DowMI research are strongly encouraged. Nevertheless, the DowMI Research Agreement stipulates a review period prior to submission of materials for publication or presentation, such as journal articles, abstracts, presentation slides and posters.

The procedures below should be followed:

  • Inventive ideas and results that demonstrate the invention should be discussed with your Dow Project Manager and where appropriate, an invention disclosure should be filed.
  • Materials for publication or presentation should be sent to your Dow project manager no later than 30 days prior to the date of submission.
    • This includes material that has already been approved by Dow for a previous conference or meeting.
    • Please note, if the materials contain inventive aspects that have not yet been described in a patent application, Dow may request that publication is delayed by up to an additional 60 days.
  • Authors or presenters should contact Jess Henry,, no later than 7 days prior to the date of submission or presentation if you have not yet received approval from Dow.
  • Authors should acknowledge “the Dow Chemical Company and the Dow Materials Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara” for financial support.
  • When including the Dow and DowMI logos on your slides, posters or other printed materials, please follow the guidelines.



Angewandte Chemie journal cover

Inventions Disclosures

DowMI researchers are asked to keep signed, witnessed and dated records of inventive ideas in their laboratory notebooks. These ideas should be discussed with your PI and Dow Project manager, and where appropriate an invention disclosure should be filed. Please contact Jess Henry for assistance.

Before preparing an invention disclosure you should have:

  • At least one representative, working example of the invention.
  • Identified the closest prior art to your invention: 3–5 journal articles, patents, patent applications, or other publications are generally sufficient. Please record when and how this prior art was found, and briefly describe the prior art and how it differs from your invention.

Please download the invention disclosure form.


Invention/Disclosure Form


MRL-Dow Travel Fellowships

As part of the DowMI and the MRL’s continual efforts to enhance the educational experience of both graduate students and postdocs, the DowMI awards a number of Travel Fellowships. These awards are intended to support activities outside the scope of our existing programs, such as travel by researchers to industrial laboratories and conferences. Typical awards are between $250-$750. Students who are intending to apply for programs such as the MRS Graduate Student Award and Gordon Research Seminars are strongly encouraged to apply for the Travel Fellowships and will be offered the maximum $750 support.

Details of the Travel Awards and the application process will be circulated to the MRL and DowMI participants when new competitions are opened. Please contact Jess Henry, for further information.

DowMI Travel

For DowMI researchers who are traveling please follow the MRL travel procedures. If you will be visiting a Dow site, please also contact Jess Henry,  at least two weeks in advance of traveling.


Travel Procedures


Craig Hawker

(805) 893-7161
Office: 3005 MRL

Morgan Bates
Assistant Director for Technology

(805) 893-4088
Office: 3117E MRL

Jess Henry
Program Coordinator

(805) 893-5112
Office: 3107 MRL

Materials Research Laboratory, MC 5121
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5121
(805) 893-7233