As an integral part of the Symposium on "Ion Beams - Applications from Nanoscale to Mesoscale" at the MRS Spring 2011 Meeting, participants were invited to join two open "brainstorming" Forum Discussions, intended to highlight opportunities for application of ion beam techniques in advancing the frontiers of materials research and making high impact contributions to solving some of the world's major issues for the future. Participants were invited to imagine freely how the field might develop (or be steered) in the next 5-10 years, in the light of the current state of the art, and in the light of the emerging needs of the global community. The resulting ideas and suggestions led to thoughtful discussions, that displayed a remarkable degree of consensus on future directions, opportunities and challenges for the field. This paper attempts to capture and report briefly the spectrum of ideas and the recommended priorities that emerged from the resulting discussions. © 2011 Materials Research Society.