Scientific Program

Science, Technology and Society Lecture

"The Importance of Materials Science and Engineering to Mexico's Competitiveness"

Tuesday, August 16, 17:30 - 18:30

Dr. Sergio M. Alcocer

Sergio M. Alcocer is a Research Professor at the Institute of Engineering of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He was the Undersecretary for North American Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Undersecretary for Strategic Planning and Technology Development of the Ministry of Energy of the Mexican Government; as well as Secretary General (Provost), Coordinator for Innovation and Development, and Director of the Institute of Engineering of UNAM. He is member of the Advisory Committee on Structural Safety of the Mexico City Government. Dr. Alcocer is active member in several technical societies, such as the American Concrete Institute (ACI), Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), American Society of Civil Engineers, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering, and Fédération Internationale du Béton. He was member of the Board of Directors of ACI and EERI, and is Past-President of the Mexican Society of Structural Engineering (SMIE). Dr. Alcocer is Past-President of the Academy of Engineering of Mexico and member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences. He is member of the board of Fundación ICA. He is a non-executive member and president of the board of Iberdrola México. He is a former non-executive member of the board of Empresas ICA (largest construction company in Mexico). In 2001, Dr. Alcocer was awarded the UNAM Prize for Young Academics, as well as the Prize on Research of the Mexican Academy of Sciences. In 2007, Dr. Alcocer received the SMIE Prize on Structural Engineering for Housing. Alcocer is a Distinguished Engineering Alumni of the Cockrell School of Engineering of the University of Texas at Austin. He received his BSc in Civil Engineering from UNAM, and a PhD in Structures from the University of Texas at Austin.

"The Importance of Materials Science and Engineering to Mexico's Competitiveness"

The Mexican Academy of Engineering has identified the Grand Challenges for the Mexican Engineering (GCME) to be tackled in the next years. The nine GCME are, in alphabetical order: competitiveness and innovation; education and research in engineering; energy and sustainability; food and rural development; healthcare; infrastructure, transportation and cities; manufacturing and services; natural resources and climate change; and prospective and planning. These topics were selected based on four areas of opportunity that were thought to be of key importance for the Mexican economy. These are: a. urgent need to improve productivity, b. promotion of economic growth, c. increase value added to products and services in current supply chains, and d. promotion of the knowledge economy. It is conceived that these areas of opportunity could lead to an increase in personal income, improved job quality, and higher and more equal economic and social development of the Mexican population. Also, poverty and the rights to education, health, food, social security, housing and municipal services are targets of the strategy.

From the above, the need to improve Mexico´s competiveness is apparent. Whether you are thinking of advanced or intelligent manufacturing; renewable energy technologies; new products for oil and gas; new or improved industrial processes; safe, durable and sustainable buildings and structures; and new healthcare technologies, new or enhanced materials are in large need, and so are the experts and knowledgeable professionals in materials engineering.

The paper will discuss the current status of teaching, training and research on materials engineering in Mexico. Emphasis will be given to the analysis of university-private sector partnerships. New developments and their impact on the country´s competitiveness and society´s well being will be presented. Recommendations to improve the formation of a cadre of expert professionals and the adoption of material science in practice within the Mexican private sector will be formulated.

Mexican Academy of Engineering