A new £20m fund has been announced by Science Minister Sam Gyimah which aims to explore new innovations that can change the UK’s plastics manufacturing and consumption behaviour.
The Plastics and Research Innovation Fund will gather Britain’s best scientists and innovators to help the country move towards more circular economic and sustainable approaches to plastics.
It will be managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and delivered through Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Innovate UK, and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
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The fund will have three parts:
- Leadership and Knowledge exchange: UK circular plastics network funding- £2m
- Research: Plastics ‘creativity’ funding- £8m
- Business led research and development: plastics ‘innovation’ funding- £10m.
UKRI will work with WRAP to network and connect this fund with initiatives across business, government and the research and innovation community to identify future research priorities.
The fund will support polymer, packaging, retail and waste sectors, as well as local government responsible for waste collection.
Science Minister Sam Gyimah said: “There’s been incredible progress in making people aware of the danger that plastic can do to our environment and our oceans. Today we are announcing a £20 million fund for our best scientists and researchers through UKRI to come up with new technology and also new plastics that do not harm the environment so much. This means moving from our current model of make, use and dispose to a new model where you use, you reuse and you recycle.”
UKRI chief executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said: “Although plastics have transformed the way we live and play an important role in many aspects of modern life, we are increasingly aware of the devastating damage plastic waste can inflict on the environment and people’s health. This fund will help to create the range of new approaches and alternatives needed to rapidly reverse the impact that our use of plastics is having on the planet.”