The Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) at the University of California, Santa Barbara supports an interactive, interdisciplinary program of materials research with a strong emphasis on the synthesis and processing of novel materials. Research is currently organized into three major thrust areas. Research on high performance electrical and optical polymers seeks to synthesize and process highly oriented conducting polymers having unprecedented combinations of properties, and to characterize and understand their behavior. The thrust area on synthesis and processing with solutions using templates focusses on the chemistry and physics of a new approach for synthesizing materials with solutions, using either crystalline or molecular templates. The intellectual focus of research on advanced materials derived from self-assembling complex fluids is on the synthesis, characterization and processing of materials derived from a class of fluid systems in which spontaneous ordering due to short-range, electrostatic or surface forces is a critical factor in determining macroscopic properties. The MRL also operates and maintains major central facilities for materials research, and provides seed funds for exploratory research and new initiatives. It supports programs in education and human resources in the materials field, and administers programs involving knowledge transfer and outreach to other institutions and sectors, including industry and national laboratories. The MRL currently supports the activities of about 25 faculty members, 5 postdoctoral research associates, 22 graduate students, and 1 technical staff member. The MRL central facilities also support a substantial amount of research that is funded primarily from other sources. The MRL at the University of California, Santa Barbara is directed by Professor Anthony G. Evans.