Innovation Gateway staff joined research faculty and industry partners and liaisons in February at the kick-off event and information summit for the New Materials Institute (NMI), a transdisciplinary institute that facilitates integrative, collaborative research at the fundamental, testbed and systems levels that results in new materials based on green engineering principles.
UGA Vice President for Research David Lee provided opening remarks and briefly welcomed those in attendance. NMI director Jason Locklin and NMI co-director Jenna Jambeck presented an overview of the NMI. Larry Hornak, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering, highlighted opportunities for industry/university collaborations involving advanced materials research, and John Mativo, associate professor in the College of Education, discussed how the NMI would facilitate education, outreach, and workforce development. Sergiy Minko, Georgia Power Professor of Fiber and Polymer Science in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, showcased his research in the areas of polymers, fibers, and textiles. Industry representatives and experts from Natural Polymers, the Coca-Cola Company, Sealed Air, Think Beyond Plastic, Georgia-Pacific Corrugated, Danimer Scientific, and Shaw Industries participated in an industry panel and discussed market forces and societal trends that will impact sustainable materials design and practices. Joe Grubbs, polymer scientist with Danimer Scientific, was the keynote speaker during lunch.
The New Materials Innovation Center will work closely with NMI to build stronger connections with the local innovation ecosystem and diversify the regional economy.