University receives government funding for plastics pollution research
Researchers and scientists from across The University of Manchester are coming together in the fight against plastic pollution as part of a new multimillion-pound, Government-backed scheme.
The University will lead on the UKRI funded ‘Rethinking Resources and Recycling’ project which is one of eight research projects funded through PRIT (Plastics Research Innovation Fund) that will explore new and different ways of making, using and recycling plastics.
The Manchester-based project has several specific elements looking plastic production and uses across both consumer-led and industrial sectors.
Its primary aim is to reduce the need for plastic by addressing demand and consumer behaviour as well as developing circular economy business models for users to eliminate their plastic waste. It will also evaluate challenges facing new manufacturing processes.
The project will also take a practical element with our scientists developing polymers for cleaner degradation and novel soft plastic recycling and micro-plastic removal methods.
Overall the Government, via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), has put £8 million behind the eight, far-reaching projects which are each based at a single higher education institution. They will begin in early 2019.
The world is waking up to the global issues posed by plastics pollution. Now is the time to act and Universities, and the wider research community, need to be at the forefront of finding ways to reduce it.
The Science Minister, Chris Skidmore, who announced the funding today, said: “We have all seen the devastating effects that plastics waste has on our environment, threatening the biodiversity of our oceans and introducing micro plastics into the food chain.
“We are committed to tackling this problem. The £8 million projects announced today – from developing a plastic-eating bacteria to finding new ways to recycle – have the potential to lead us to a cleaner, greener economy through our modern Industrial Strategy.”
The interdisciplinary projects at Manchester will see researchers come from across the University to pool their different ideas, expertise and research disciplines.
These include staff from the Schools of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE), Materials, Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science (CEAS), Chemistry and Environment, Education and Development (SEED), as well as the Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS),
Professor Lin Li, who leads The University of Manchester project, Associate Dean (Business Engagement and Innovation in Faculty Science and Engineering), in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, added: “The world is waking up to the global issues posed by plastics pollution. Now is the time to act and Universities, and the wider research community, need to be at the forefront of finding ways to reduce it.
“This project aims to generate and evaluate new ideas based on coordinated, cross-disciplinary projects and stakeholder engagements.”
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