Funding totalling £7,000,000 is being offered for research to support a more sustainable overall plastics system and help the UK move towards a circular plastics economy.
Projects, which can have a duration of up to 36 months, can apply for funding worth up to £1.75 million, supporting a circular plastics economy through developments in biological sciences, biotechnology, engineering, information and communications technology (ICT), mathematical sciences and physical sciences.
The whole of the product lifecycle is in scope, from extraction and novel and conventional production, to maximising the longevity and value achieved while in use and to recycling and recovery at the end of life.
Projects should address real world challenges, be “adventurous” and ambitions with the potential for high impact and be development in partnership with relevant stakeholders such as industry or government.
That includes tighter loops of circularity by designing for reuse, disassembly and repair in-situ, novel approaches to recycling of the 50% to 55% of plastics that are currently not recovered at the end of life and recovery and reuse of plastics currently lost to the environment, in particular, micro and nanoparticles and fibres.
In addition, projects can support effective tracking, transport, separation or sorting and recycling technologies for harder-to-tackle polymers and more efficient recycling technologies that maintain material properties over a greater number of lifecycles.
The substitution of plastics by other materials, however, is outside the remit of this opportunity from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) , part of UKRI, must receive applications by 15th September 2022.