The formation of the AMRS, has its origins in the August 2000 ‘US-Africa Materials Workshop’, held in Pretoria, South Africa. The workshop was co-organized and sponsored by the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) and the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) and sought to explore opportunities for collaboration between the USA and Africa with an overarching objective of developing the materials research capacity in Africa. It brought together over 70 leading scientists, industry researchers and Government representatives from the USA and 15 African countries, and they sculpted a forward-looking sustainable framework for driving materials research in Africa. Two years later, building on this initiative, on 12 December, 2002, the African-MRS was officially launched in Dakar, Senegal. The Dakar meeting, was attended by various world experts in the different facets of materials science, engineering and research, thus becoming the 1st AMRS International Conference. Subsequent biennial International Conferences were held in South Africa (2003), Morocco (2005), Tanzania (2007), Nigeria (2009) Zimbabwe, (2011), Ethiopia (2013), Ghana (2015), Botswana (2017) and next will be Tanzania (2019). In December 2017 Botswana was appointed Home of the African Materials Research Society secretariat which is currently Hosted by Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) .
The activities of the secretariat will be mainly focused on achieving two objectives to uplift AMRS as follows;
1) To ensure the involvement and coordinated participation of all 54 African countries in the activities of AMRS which include;
- Biannual conference participation
- Intracountry collaboration
- Intercountry collaboration
- African countries intercontinental collaboration
2) To establish a sustainable source of funds for activities of AMRS through;
- Government Support
- Industry Support
- Membership Fees
- Other Funding Organizations
The structure for the day to day operations of the secretariat consists of the Head of Secretariat who is based at Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) with an Administrative Assistant to work in the secretariat office at BITRI. Each of the five regions in Africa are represented by at least one person who will provide up to date information on the materials science activities in their respective region.