At MIT, research is done in all areas of materials science and engineering. There are hundreds of research projects involving DMSE faculty which are supported by an average of $40 million annually. A large portion of this support comes from government grants (from all branches of the military, the Department of Energy, NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute for Health, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology). Approximately one-third of the support comes directly from industry and much of the remainder comes from the various MIT alliances—the Singapore-MIT Alliance, the Cambridge-MIT Institute, the Dupont-MIT Alliance, and the Ford-MIT Alliance. These grants provide not only for laboratory supplies and equipment but also for stipends and tuition for graduate students and pay for undergraduates performing research on a project.

The Materials Project, an open database of properties allowing researchers to explore and select the right materials for their needs, is the brainchild of Professor Gerd Ceder.