Institute for Materials Discovery

Material science underpins the modern world, from smart phones to satellites, solar cells to dialysis, and is at the cutting edge of innovation in areas such as transport, health care, electric vehicles and renewable energy. The Institute for Materials Discovery (IMD), led by its founder and director Professor Kwang-Leong Choy is at the forefront of the design and development of new, sustainable materials to tackle pressing global challenges. It brings together leading experts from several disciplines, and links materials research at UCL which is scattered across departments including Chemistry, Engineering, Biology, Medicine, and Physics. 
Researchers at the IMD


Explore our exciting research in developing advanced materials and non-vacuum processing methods!

People at the IMD


Meet the world leading researchers, lecturers, support staff and students that make the IMD.

IMD researchers in the lab


Find out how the IMD works closely with industry to deliver real commercial and societal impact.

About the IMD


The mission of the IMD is to bring together materials research from across UCL and beyond. Read about our world beating approach here.

Study at the IMD


Interested in studying Material Science? The MSc in Advanced Materials will train you in cutting edge materials discovery, manufacturing and characterisation. 

facilities at the IMD


The UCL IMD offers access to a wide range of cutting-edge scientific equipment. Find out how to access these facilities here.


The institute conducts research into materials for a wide range of applications, chief among which is developing low cost, sustainable renewable energy solutions. The institute has developed world leading non-vacuum Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) manufacturing processes for Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selinide and Copper-Zinc-Tin-Sulphur solar cells, achieving near record efficiency while dramatically lowering the cost of these devices.

Healthcare is another priority. Across the UK around 2 million people will undergo dialysis in their lifetime, yet this procedure has not fundamentally changed in 50 years, and outcomes for long term recipients remain bleak. The IMD, working with Japanese collaborators, the Royal Free Hospital and the UCL Centre for Nephrology is in the process of revolutionising this procedure. Conventional dialysis machines us hollow fibres to remove urea and excess liquid from the blood, however cannot remove protein bound toxins. Our aim is to use our patented coating technology to coat the hollow fibres with a toxin absorber, boosting waste removal rates, capturing key toxins and making dialysis cheaper and quicker.

Read more about this and much, much more on our research page.


Interested in studying Material Science? The MSc in Advanced Materials run by the IMD will train you in cutting edge materials discovery, manufacturing and characterisation. Delivered by world leading researchers, you will gain practical experience in working with materials for applications across healthcare, manufacturing, renewable energy, transport, optoelectronics and consumer products. The course is an ideal fit for students from a wide range of backgrounds, including Material Science, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Biology. Find out more here. The IMD also hosts a number of PhD students working on key issues across material science: in particular coatings for biomedical, structural and functional applications. For an idea of the type of projects available, see the profiles of our current PhD students here. For current vacancies, see our recruitment page. 


Part of the core vision of the Institute for Materials Discovery is to bring researchers together across disciplines, across industry and across academia to identify and address key challenges in material science. To this end, we work with over thirty companies across the globe, and collaborate closely with hospitals and leading academic groups worldwide. We are always looking for new partners, so whether you represent a company or you’re an academic researcher, get in touch to see how we can work together.

Contact Us

UCL, Institute for Materials Discovery | 107 Roberts Building | Malet Place | London | WC1E 7JE

+44 (0)20 7679 1335