The 2018 MDI Summer Institute:
The Erich Bloch Symposium and CoRE Summit

June 2 - June 6, 2018 / Buffalo, New York, USA

The MDI Summer Institute is designed to accelerate material innovation in the solar industry, while addressing community health and well-being issues related to solar panel manufacturing. 


A Framework for Inclusive Innovation

The Institute will promote transformative change by bringing together individuals and organizations that are engaged in the regenerative economy at the local, regional and national levels, including:

  • Academia
  • Industry
  • Not-for-profits
  • Government
  • Community partners

Here, we will generate conversations across disciplines and among multiple sectors, institutions and organizations about the building blocks of a regenerative economy, and the issues (both local and global) in transitioning to a circular economy. 


What You Can Expect

  • See the latest discoveries in data-driven materials science and engineering from renowned leaders and experts from universities, industry and national labs
  • Understand why materials matter in a regenerative economy
  • Discover the opportunities and challenges to creating the regenerative economy regionally and beyond, as you listen to discussions from researchers from the humanities and the social sciences, together with community and business leaders 
  • Learn about the data and tools available to measure and reduce the chemical footprint of the material economy, with a focus on the solar industry 
  • Get a preview of our ongoing efforts for creating an extensive data infrastructure and visualization tools that will collect and share complex scientific, human and environmental health data, with tools to analyze, understand and interpret the information

> View highlights from the 2017 Institute


How to Register

Registration information is coming soon. Please contact us in the meantime.


The Erich Bloch Symposium: Accelerating Innovation for a Regenerative Economy


Saturday, June 2
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
K-12 STEM Master Teachers Climate Change workshop
Buffalo State College

Sunday June 3
5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
CoRE Advisory Group Meeting

Monday, June 4
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Davis Hall, University at Buffalo North Campus

9 a.m. - noon
Theme: Materials Matter – From Molecules to Neighborhoods

9 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. 
Overview on Materials in a Regenerative Economy – Design with Intent 

9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Communicating Science 

  • Academic: SUNY Stony Brook, Alan Alda Institute on science communication (or someone from UB – such as the Humanities Institute)
  • NGO: Sheila Davis, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) or Dustin Mulvaney (San Jose State) on communicating the science behind the SVTC’s Solar Report Card
  • Business—Daniel Montante, Montante Solar (or someone from the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable)

Moderator: Ken Geiser, emeritus, University Massachusetts Lowell

10:30 a.m.

11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Team Presentations and Poster Session
Preceding the poster session - 3-minute pitch from 15 teams to share innovate ideas from student teams and CoRE Community Change Agents 

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Afternoon Session – Plenary Meeting
Theme: The 4th Industrial Economy: What is emerging with renewable energy, greener materials and conservation of resources?


  • Senator Gillibrand, NYS Senator, clean energy for our economy, our environment
  • Lisa Jackson, Apple, former EPA Administrator 
  • Stefan Gerlicz (or Kate Burson), Corporate sustainability at Tesla
  • Daniel Schrag, Director for the Center for the Environment, Harvard University, JPB advisor
  • Carmichael Roberts, Material Impact & 1366 Technologies Board Chair

Moderator: Liesl Folks: Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, UB

6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Dinner at Butler Mansion / Frank Lloyd House

  • JPB Foundation administration
  • Invited speakers
  • Grace Wang
  • UB senior administration
  • CoRE Team

Tuesday June 5
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Davis Hall, University at Buffalo North Campus

8 a.m. - 9 a.m.
Registration, Breakfast

8:45 a.m. – 9 a.m.
Welcome – Robin Schulze, Dean of College of Arts and Science, UB 

9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Session I
Theme: Holistic systems view: Circular, Regenerative Economies for the 4th Industrial Economy  

  • Helga Vanthournout, McKinsey, World Economic Forum: Circular Economies
  • Bill Petuskey, Director Nanoscience Institute: Arizona State University
  • John Fullerton, the Capital Institute 

Moderator: TBD

10:30 a.m. - noon
Session II
Theme: Design with Intent 

  • Don Sadoway, MIT: material innovation and batteries – key speaker for this session
  • Hewlett Packard: Chemical footprint and the Green Screen for material design and selection 
  • Mike Ward (NYU)
  • Panasonic EcoSolutions
  • 1366 Technologies:  designing for material innovation and resource conservation

Moderator: Grace Wang

Noon - 1 p.m.

1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Session III
Theme: Materials Informatics for a Regenerative Economy

  • Russel Caflisch – Director, Courant Institute (NYU) – Harnessing Mathematics for Solving Issues in Materials Sustainability
  • Frank Alexander : Brookhaven National Laboratory )  Role of AI for renewable energy systems
  • Giulia Galli: Univ. of Chicago: Utilizing Earth Abundant Materials; a computational scientist perspective
  • Jennifer Krill/ Payal Sampath: Earthworks: Non-renewable resources for renewable technologies- a critical assessment  
  • Yoram Cohen-UCLA: Data driven strategies for environmental assessment in human toxicology 

Moderator: Bruce Pitman

3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Session IV
Theme: Mapping Pathways to Solutions  

  • Sarah O’Brien, Clean Electronics Production Network: high tech leaders (Apple, HP, Flextronics, Seagate) collaborate with NGOs on material innovation, worker health and empowerment
  • Rob Guzzo (or someone from his team), Apple, design towards greener material use and sustainable manufacturing
  • Brian Martin, Seagate: data visualization for material innovation and reducing chemicals of high concern
  • Mark Rossi—BizNGO: new collaborative models to advance solutions for material innovation

Moderator: TBD

5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 6
Post-Symposium Event: The CoRe Annual Meeting
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Hayes Hall, University at Buffalo South Campus

9 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

9:15 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Keynote Presentation: Moving from an Extractive Materials Economy
Jennifer Krill / Payal Sampath (Earthworks) 

10 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

10:15 a.m. - Noon
CoRE Change Agent Roundtable Discussion: Our Sense of Place and Strategies to Advance a Clean Energy Economy

  • Rahwa Ghirmatzion, PUSH Buffalo on Just transition, the Regenerative Economy, & 100% Renewables
  • Daniel Montante, Montante Solar, working with PUSH Buffalo’s “high road” workforce development agency
  • Antonina Simeti, WNY Environmental Alliance 
  • Eric Walker, Erie Country, Director of Energy, Project Rainfall
  • Rebekah Williams, Youth and Climate Justice
  • Jeff Conrad, Catholic Charities, Northland project
  • Amy Audino, the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable 

Noon - 1 p.m.

1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Interactive Training Session on Materials Matter
Visualizing Factories of the Future 

  • Krishna Rajan, predictive analytics and CoRE’s online portal
  • Sarah O’Brien, worker empowerment, Clean Electronics Production Network
  • Beverley Thorpe, clean production case studies (regional, global)

2:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.

3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Roundtable Discussion: Mapping Opportunities for Inclusive Innovation and Civic Entrepreneurship

  • Tyra Johnson, Blue Sky Design
  • Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen, University at Buffalo 

4:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Summation and Next Steps