Vol. 9
January Issue
Year 2008


in Vol. 9 - January Issue - Year 2008
Networking for European Materials Scientists and Engineers

Paul McIntyre, Secretary of the Federation of European Materials Society (FEMS)

Prize winners at Junior EUROMAT in Lausanne

EUROMAT 2007 - welcoming reception at the Old City Hall in Nuremberg

Interview with Paul McIntyre, Secretary of the European Federation of Materials Societies MFN met Paul McIntyre, Secretary of the Federation of European Materials Societies (FEMS), in his London office at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, to find out more about the aims and activities of this burgeoning organisation.

(?) MFN: I am sure that many of our readers will know about FEMS already, but for those who don't, could you tell us something about the organisation?

(!) P. M.: FEMS is a not-for profit association of 24 European materials societies in 22 different countries. The size of these societies varies enormously, from fewer than 50 to more than 10,000 members. The total number of materials scientists and engineers represented by the FEMS Member Societies is approximately 25,000. However, most of the societies have fewer than 500 members and inevitably have limited influence.  Perhaps the most important aim of FEMS is to overcome the fragmentation of the materials science and engineering discipline in Europe in terms of countries, specialities and disciplines.  In contrast with the USA, where there are relatively few professional materials societies, Europe has over thirty (16 in Germany alone). By strengthening the interaction between Materials Scientists and Engineers across Europe, between different European Materials Societies, and between Member Societies and the European Union, FEMS aims to facilitate the dissemination of knowledge and provide the critical mass needed to exert influence on a European scale.

(?) MFN: How did FEMS come about?

(!) P. M.: In June 1986, The Institute of Metals in London (IOM), the German Society for Metals (DGM) and the French Society for Metallurgy (SFM) agreed the need for European metals and materials societies to act more in concert and behave in a generally more “European” manner.  After a few meetings, a memorandum of understanding to form the Federation of European Materials Societies was signed in January 1987. The first FEMS General Assembly took place in Paris on 11 December 1987, with IOM, SFM and DGM as the three founder members. In the years that followed, membership of FEMS grew steadily, and by 1993 there were fourteen full members in thirteen different countries.

(?) MFN: How does FEMS achieve its objectives?

(!) P. M.: The Federation is probably best known for its series of FEMS EUROMAT conferences. These have been held in different venues every two years since the first took place in Aachen during 1989 with 800 delegates. The conference has since grown in size and EUROMAT 2007, the 10th in the series, which was held in Nuremberg on 10-13 September attracted 1925 participants.  Almost all aspects of materials science and engineering were covered in seven major topic areas:

• Functional and Nano Materials;
• Biomaterials;
• Structural Materials;
• Processing;
• Characterisation and Modelling;
• Applications;
• Education.

Each topic area included a number of separate topics, which were sub-divided into a total of 58 symposia.  One of these, on Process Modelling of Metallic Alloys, would have been of particular interest to readers of MFN since it dealt with surface treatments, including mechanical modification as well as coatings.
EUROMAT conferences represent a unique networking opportunity since it is seldom that so many workers in the materials field congregate together at one time and place in Europe.  EUROMAT 2009 will be taking place in Glasgow on 6-10 September 2009 (www.IOM3.org/events).

On alternate years, FEMS organises Junior EUROMAT, the major event for young materials scientists. This is a special poster conference that always takes place in Lausanne, and attracts 300 or so young people. All authors are allowed to make brief oral presentations of their work and there are prizes for the best posters in each category. These meetings provide industrial companies with the opportunity to identify potential future recruits. There are also marvellous social events, including a barbecue on the shores of Lake Geneva on the final evening. Junior EUROMAT 2008 (www.junior-euromat.fems.org), the ninth in the series, will again be held in Lausanne, on 14-18 July. The registration fees for students are expected to range from 100 to 220 EUR, and accommodation will be available from 50 Swiss Francs per night.

(?) MFN: What benefits does FEMS provide to its member societies?

(!) P. M.: To begin with, everyone belonging to a FEMS Member Society qualifies for a reduced registration fee to attend EUROMAT. The total value of these savings can greatly outweigh the membership fee paid by the society. The member societies can bid to host EUROMAT and are encouraged to participate in the organisation and selection of topics and symposia organisers. They can nominate candidates for election to the FEMS Executive Committee, and vote in the General Assembly.  The members can also nominate outstanding people for the prestigious FEMS Awards, which include the European Materials Medal (in solid gold) and the Materials Science and Technology Prize.  There is also a FEMS Lecturer Award, which provides visibility to excellent young researchers, and a new FEMS Technical Materials Innovation Award to recognise outstanding materials developments in industry.  Member societies can use the FEMS website (www.fems.org) and FEMS News as platforms for information exchange with other societies and to publish job opportunities and student placements.  Three years ago, FEMS introduced an annual FEMS Presidents’ Day, giving senior representatives of its member societies the opportunity to get together to exchange views and provide feedback to the Federation. 

(?) MFN: What are the key issues facing FEMS for the future?

(!) P. M.: A major concern is the need to increase further the visibility of Materials Science and Engineering in Europe. To achieve greater influence, FEMS is actively recruiting more member societies, and three new ones are in the process of joining at present. Other societies interested in pursuing FEMS membership should approach me in the first instance (paul.mcintyre@iom3.org). Also, FEMS is a founder member of the European Materials Forum. This coalition of more than 130 national and European materials organisations has been established to partner the European Parliament and Commission, thus providing a voice for materials to influence politics at the EU level and safeguard the future funding for materials research.

We at MFN would like to thank Paul McIntyre for this interview.

For Information:
FEMS -The Federation of European
Materials Societies
Tel. +44.207 451 7336
E-mail: paul.mcintyre@iom3.org