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Toyota Research Institute Announces Multimillion-Dollar Challenge to Accelerate Research in New Advanced Materials 2 Minute Read

Challenge Aimed at Accelerating the Transition to Cleaner Energy Solutions

LOS ALTOS, Calif., and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (April 18, 2024) —Toyota Research Institute (TRI) announces a multiyear, multimillion-dollar challenge aimed at closing the gap between recent advances in AI prediction of new materials and finding the actual “recipe” needed to make these hypothetical materials in the real world.

Researchers can presently use AI and simulation to find millions of novel materials at unprecedented rates. While this is encouraging, a bottleneck occurs when trying to create these materials in the laboratory. Developing the recipe to create even a single new material in the lab – the act of synthesis – can take years.

“Accelerating the synthesis of computer-predicted materials could be a game changer in the development of advanced technologies such as EV batteries,” said Brian Storey, TRI’s Senior Director of Energy & Materials. “That’s why TRI is trying something new. We are inviting the best researchers in this field to bring fresh thinking to help close the gap between the computer and the lab.”

“When we started TRI in 2016, one of our founding principles was that we would enthusiastically pursue collaboration with others and avoid the ‘not invented here’ syndrome,” said Gill Pratt, Chief Scientist for Toyota Motor Corporation and CEO of TRI. “Our intention is to shave years off the new materials discovery process by creating a collaborative research challenge amongst academics and research partners around the world.”

The Synthesis Advanced Research Challenge will provide funding for four of the most promising ideas submitted for using artificial intelligence and simulation to synthesize new materials for the next generation of EVs and other emerging technology applications.

Submissions should ideally combine innovative approaches leveraging recent methodological advances with a compelling plan for collaboration. The application is open to university professors and national laboratory scientists, and early-career scientists are especially encouraged to apply.

Beyond the automotive industry, advancements in materials synthesis have the potential to catalyze broader scientific discoveries and technological innovations.

Learn more about this challenge material scientists are trying to solve on TRI’s Medium blog. To apply, please review the request for proposals.

The submission deadline is June 1, 2024.


About TRI’s Energy & Materials Research

TRI is working to solve one of the most significant challenges of our time: how can we move people around without relying on fossil fuels? As the world races towards sustainable transportation solutions, we must discover and deploy breakthrough materials, manufacture and deploy them at scale, and find diverse solutions for emissions-free transportation.


About Toyota Research Institute

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) conducts research to amplify human ability, focusing on making our lives safer and more sustainable. Led by Dr. Gill Pratt, TRI’s team of researchers develops technologies to advance energy and materials, human-centered artificial intelligence, human interactive driving, and robotics. Established in 2016, TRI has offices in Los Altos, California, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information about TRI, please visit



Wendy Rosen
Senior Director of Communications