About IFM

The Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) is at the forefront of innovation in materials design and engineering research. Our key research areas fall under two main themes: innovative manufacturing technologies and energy efficiency; resource and infrastructure sustainability.
IFM logo


To lead and inspire innovations in materials science and engineering that have a transformational benefit to society.


To create and translate knowledge at the frontier of materials science for globally raised standards of living by::

  • Re-designing materials for a circular economy
  • Imparting materials with extraordinary functionality

Through excellence in research research culture, research quality, translation and training.

Welcome from IFM Director

The Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) at Deakin University was established to address some of the major challenges facing society through innovations in materials design and performance.

Our vision is to lead and inspire innovations in materials science and engineering that have a transformational benefit to society.

Recognised as one of Australia’s leading materials research organisations, IFM’s mission is to foster innovation and excellence in materials science and engineering research with the aim of developing:

  • Innovative manufacturing technologies
  • Energy efficiency, resource and infrastructure sustainability

Our aim is to develop new materials and structures that are affordable, and also have a low cost to society of manufacture, use and recycling. IFM can process and characterise materials across all scale lengths, from the atomic level in the manipulation of interfaces and surfaces through to entire structures (such as a model car). Our researchers bring together engineering, chemistry, materials science, physics, biology, mathematics and other disciplines to develop new materials and engineering solutions.

We welcome enquiries from students, researchers and industry who are interested in working with us in this exciting field of research.

Director, Institute for Frontier Materials, Professor Matthew Barnett


The IFM Board is responsible for the governance and oversight of the research, development and commercialisation activities of IFM.

Board members

Prof Joe Graffam
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Deakin University
Chair, IFM Board
Prof Brendan Crotty
Pro Vice-Chancellor,
Faculty of Health, Deakin University
Prof Maria Forsyth
Associate Director, Institute for Frontier Materials
Deakin University
Prof Karen Hapgood
Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, Engineering & Built Environment
Prof Matthew Barnett
Director, Institute for Frontier Materials
Dr Leonie Walsh
External Independent Director
Prof Gordon Wallace
External Independent Director
Mr David Marino
External Independent Director

Ex Officio Members

Mr Derek Buckmaster
Director, Carbon Nexus
Institute for Frontier Materials,
Deakin University
Dr Ben Spincer
Director, Deakin Research Commercial
Deakin University

Occupational health and safety

At IFM, the health and safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount. We are committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment.

The University’s OHS Policy applies to all staff, students, visitors, contractors and labour hire employees.