UM Helps Highlight Graphene Innovation through Conference

Mississippi-held forum showcases game-changing material

OXFORD, Miss. – Spotlighting the global graphene technology revolution, the Graphene Innovation and Research Conference is set for this month in Jackson.

Discovered in 2004, graphene is a 2D form of carbon that has shown the versatility and potential to stimulate technological advancement in many industries.

Taking place Nov. 19-20 at The Westin Jackson, the conference, focusing on “Mississippi: The State of Graphene,” will bridge the gap between graphene in the laboratory and its uses in industry, and empower graphene-focused technologies that could have national and global economic impacts.

“Attendees can expect to learn about the latest discoveries in graphene from the movers and shakers in the industry,” said Zina Jarrahi Cinker, executive director of the association, which advocates for and promotes the commercialization of graphene. “Anyone with an interest in innovation and elevating their business through the use of new technologies and materials would find this event of interest.”

Academic, industry and government leaders along with graphene researchers and professors from around the country will be in attendance.

The event is hosted by the National Graphene Association. The University of Mississippi, which is home to the Center for Graphene Research and Innovation, is a sponsor of the event along with the Mississippi Development Authority.

On the conference’s first day, scientists and scholars will present recent graphene research, innovation and trends. The second day will examine the economic development and industrial impact made possible by graphene.

“The second day of the event will focus on ‘Mississippi: The State of Graphene’ with strong participation and support from Mississippi organizations and industries,” Jarrahi Cinker said. “The discussions will focus on the potential of graphene as one of the most versatile and promising materials of the 21st century to boost the economy of the region and serve as a much-needed ‘graphene hub.'”

The leaders who gather also will discuss how graphene and innovations around the material can elevate existing industries, create new high-paying jobs, attract additional companies and businesses, and nurture and support spinoff companies from the graphene academic and university network.

In May, UM joined the Graphene Academic Council with seven other higher learning institutions around the country to help further graphene research and development. The other founding members are the University of Alabama, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Penn State University, Rice University, the University of Texas and Vanderbilt University.

The conference also looks to expand the existing graphene research network between council members and potential future university partners.

“The Graphene Innovation and Research Conference is an information exchange between academic and government scientists and industry, and is a critical step toward transitioning graphene-based technologies into products and tools that can benefit society,” said Josh Gladden, Ole Miss vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs who also serves as chair of the association’s Graphene Academic Council. “The University of Mississippi and the Center for Graphene Research and Innovation are thrilled to participate and support this conference in our home state.”

The conference follows the American Graphene Summit and the Graphene on Capitol Hill event hosted by U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker in Washington, D.C., earlier this year.

The thinnest-known material, graphene is 200 times stronger than steel. It is thought that graphene will become an integral part of industries such as energy storage, electronics, smart textiles, sensors, medical devices, water purification, structural materials, composites and more. Some examples of graphene uses are adding it to paint to reduce corrosion and adding it to asphalt to make roads last twice as long.

Additional sponsors of the conference are Ergon, Inc., Huntington Ingalls Industries, CREATE Foundation and TLC Graphene Composites LLC. The conference also is supported by the Mississippi Manufacturers Association and the Mississippi Economic Council.

Registration is required for the Graphene Innovation and Research Conference.