Switchable Polymer Manufacturing Delivering Sustainable Products

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Chemistry

Abstract

In the UK, the plastic industry alone employs >170,000 people and has an annual sale turnover of >£23.5 billion, it is also one of the top 10 UK exports. Worldwide polymer production volumes exceed 300 Mt/annum, with CAGR of 5-10%. Today almost all polymers are sourced from oi/gas and are neither chemically recycled nor biodegradable. Existing polymer manufacturing plants are optimized for a single product and because of the very high capital expenditure required to build plants their lifetimes must be as long as possible. One drawback of existing processes designed for a single product is that they hinder innovation and slow the introduction of step-change products. In this proposal a new manufacturing process allows monomer mixtures to be selectively polymerized to selectively deliver completely new types of sustainable materials. The process requires just one reactor which is re-configured to dial-up multiple combinations of desirable products with controllable structures and compositions. This fellowship allows time for detailed investigation and development of the manufacturing concept as well as new research into product applications in three high-tech, high-value sectors, namely as recyclable and biodegradable thermoplastic elastomers, shape-memory plastics for robotics and delivery agents for biomolecule therapies. The research is underpinned by the efficient use of renewable resources, such as carbon dioxide and bio-derived monomers, and the polymers are designed for efficient end-of-life recycling and biodegradation. By applying existing commodity monomers, such as propene oxide and maleic anhydride, industrialization and translation of the results is accelerated. The fellowship allows the PI to learn new skills and build collaborations which will be realized through regular sabbaticals and secondments. It also allows the close industrial collaboration and oversight to re-configure polymer manufacturing to produce sustainable, high value materials to meet existing and future industrial needs.

Planned Impact

There is intense interest and pressure to deliver more sustainable and profitable polymer products and manufacturing processes both at a national and international scale. This fellowship builds upon exciting scientific discoveries that allow resource efficient manufacturing of new polymers. The fellowship will investigate these discoveries, understand the underpinning theories and translate the research to implement industrially. Its goal is to deliver new manufacturing methods, compatible with Industry 4.0 and additive manufacturing, which are rapidly responsive to changing consumer needs and which are flexible. It applies selective catalysis to produce polymers from commodity monomers and waste renewable resources, such as carbon dioxide. The polymers are designed for recycling and biodegradation, indeed the research factors in detailed understanding of the science underpinning recycling and decomposition. The new polymers are targeted a range of high-value applications including recyclable and degradable thermoplastic elastomers, polymers for soft robotics and the targeted cellular delivery of sensitive biomolecule therapies.
The fellowship provides dedicated time and resources to the PI to lead this field of science and to train a new generation of researchers. She will use the time to address the detailed research goals, to publish and present the results to other experts in both industry and academic science (open access) and to explain the broader issues to experts in government, the media and to the general public. She will also regularly work on secondment into industry, including with Covestro, DSM, SCG Chemical and econic technologies, as well as with academic laboratories expert in Chemical Biology (Hagan Bayley, Oxford Chemistry), Robotics (Jonathan Rossiter, Bristol Engineering) and Elastomers (Marc Hillmyer, Minnesota).
The pathway to economic impacts and commercialization will be managed by regular meetings of the industry advisory board (Covestro, DSM, SCG Chemical and Econic technologies) and by networking to directly engage other relevant businesses. The research has the potential to impact polymer manufacturing and products relevant to the automotive, healthcare, consumer products and robotics industries. The fellow already has significant experience of inventing solutions to industrial problems and a strong track record in generation and licensing of intellectual property. She is also the founder of a UK SME specializing in catalysts allowing carbon dioxide utilization. This established career fellowship allows development and expansion of these entrepreneurial and industrial activities so as to maximise impact and revenue in the UK.
Academic impacts include the development of fundamental and translational science relevant to the disciplines of catalysis, polymer chemistry and materials science. Key outcomes from the fellowship will include high impact publications in peer reviewed journals and regular presentations at university/industry seminars, national meetings and international conferences. The PI will also use the fellowship to promote the broader field of sustainable polymers through activities including international conference organization, guest editorship of journals to highlight the issues and review articles/book chapters to allow greater education in the field. There are a range of potential economic, social and environmental impacts from this science and they address high profile contemporary issues such as plastic waste, resource utilization, modernization of commodity goods manufacture, healthcare and care for an aging population. Given the wide spread of applications and impacts communication and debate with a range of audiences is essential. The fellowship will provide time for Charlotte Williams to advocate on behalf of sustainable polymers and present her vision of research futures to government, senior leaders, investors, the media and the general public.

Publications

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Chen TTD (2020) Bio-based and Degradable Block Polyester Pressure-Sensitive Adhesives. in Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)

 
Description The award investigates more sustainable and more efficient methods to make polymers and materials. The sustainability of polymers are addressed throughout their life cycle - from the raw materials used to make them, by improving their properties in use in some cases to extend service lifetime, to ensure end-life recycling, disposal and degradation are designed into materials from the outset. Many of the polymers are also designed to be environmentally and/or biologically degradable, forming metabolites. The fellowship also addresses the manufacturing of these important materials and explores a new manufacturing process termed 'switchable polymerization catalysis'. In this new process, multiple different raw materials are mixed together and selectively polymerized to make a single type of product where specific blocks of monomers are repeated throughout the polymer chain. The ability to produce ordered structures from mixtures is very unusual and surprising because it is normally impossible to achieve single products from complex mixtures of raw materials. Indeed, most of the current chemical industry is predicated upon the use of highly purified raw materials and using specific processes to make single products. This fellowship explores switchable polymerization catalysis using bio-based, wastes and carbon dioxide as mixtures of raw materials. The polymers are explored for a range of applications including as commodity materials such as plastics, thermoplastic elastomers, pressure sensitive adhesives, as well as in specialty areas such as polymer therapeutics and soft robotics.

So far, successes have included:
1) Development of switchable catalysis and improvement in the performance of these catalysts
2) Use of switchable catalysis to prepare fully recyclable and degradable thermoplastic elastomers which out-perform existing petrochemicals based on polystyrene-butadiene-styrene
3) Use of switchable catalysis to prepare fully recyclable and degradable pressure sensitive adhesives which show higher peel force adhesion values than existing commercial tapes and products
4) Use of switchable catalysis to prepare bio-based and carbon dioxide-derived plastics which are toughened. These materials outperform existing bio-based plastics like PLA.
5) Development of high activity and selectivity heterodinuclear carbon dioxide/propene oxide ring-opening copolymerization catalysts, including an initial patent application to protect those structures
6) Development of methods to post-functionalise and pattern block polymers to exploit adjacency interactions to make solution self-assembled nanostructures
Exploitation Route Although the fellowship is still on-going there are already results which can be used by others. These include:
1) Publications which allow other academics and industry teams to reproduce and build upon the results
2) Patent application, filed June 2020, which will allow for license discussions with relevant companies
3) Establishing a new partnership with Unilever which has resulted in the award of a Unilever Brilliance Award and the securing of an EPSRC Prosperity Parternship. This new collaboration allows for the early-stage results from this grant to feed into the preparation of new polymers for home care applications
4) Establishing the Future of plastics programme at Oxford which convenes experts from physical sciences, economics, environmental policy and law to address how to deliver a more sustainable future for plastics.
5) Hosting of an external advisory board meeting focussed on this grant and the Future of plastics which allows for expert academic, senior industry and NGO input to the research progress and outcomes.
Sectors Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

URL https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/future-of-plastics,https://gow.epsrc.ukri.org/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/V038117/1,http://cwilliams.chem.ox.ac.uk/.aspx
 
Description 'Science to enable sustainable plastics', White paper from the 8th Chemical Sciences and Society Summit
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
URL https://www.rsc.org/new-perspectives/sustainability/progressive-plastics/
 
Description 'Sustainable Plastics - The Role of Chemistry'
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
URL https://www.rsc.org/globalassets/04-campaigning-outreach/policy/environment-health-safety-policy/pla...
 
Description 'Sustainable synthetic carbon based fuels for transport', Royal Society Policy Briefing
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
URL https://studylib.net/doc/25441685/synthetic-fuels-briefing
 
Description Inclusion is Key: How Gender Equality Improves Science, Tech and Innovation for Climate Action.
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL https://unfccc.int/gender
 
Description Developments on recyclable and/or biodegradable polymers by design
Amount £90,000 (GBP)
Organisation Unilever 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2021 
End 03/2022
 
Description EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Inorganic Chemistry for Future Manufacturing (OxICFM)
Amount £6,240,938 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S023828/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 09/2027
 
Description EPSRC Impact Acceleration Award: Switch Catalysis for the Synthesis of Degradable Polymers for Homecare Applications
Amount £9,176,856 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R511742/1 
Organisation Unilever 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2020 
End 09/2021
 
Description From Rings to Polymers and Back Again: Catalytic Recycling of Waste Oxygenated Plastics
Amount £3,938,126 (GBP)
Organisation Research Complex at Harwell 
Department UK Catalysis Hub
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2021 
End 11/2022
 
Description Hub 'Science' 3: Catalysis for the Circular Economy and Sustainable Manufacturing
Amount £3,938,126 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R027129/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2018 
End 11/2023
 
Description Innovation Centre for Applied Sustainable Technologies (iCAST)
Amount £4,987,157 (GBP)
Organisation United Kingdom Research and Innovation 
Department Research England
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2021 
End 09/2024
 
Description Oxford- Australia Scholarship (Alexander Craze)
Amount £24,900 (GBP)
Organisation University of Oxford 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2020 
End 09/2024
 
Description Poly(ML): Machine Learning for Improved Sustainable Polymers
Amount £506,089 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/V003321/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2020 
End 10/2022
 
Description UKRI Prosperity Partnership: Cleaner Futures (Next-Gen Sustainable Materials for Consumer Products
Amount £3,365,374 (GBP)
Funding ID EPSRC EP/V038117/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2021 
End 08/2026
 
Description Unilever CASE award/ Birkett Scholarship
Amount £45,000 (GBP)
Organisation Unilever 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2020 
End 09/2024
 
Description Collaboration with Mecking and Research Team at University of Konstanz 
Organisation University of Konstanz
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A PG student spent time seconded to the partner in Konstanz and working with the research team to share knowledge
Collaborator Contribution A PG student spent time seconded to the partner in Konstanz and working with the research team to share knowledge
Impact N/A
Start Year 2019
 
Description EPSRC Funded project PolyMat using Machine Learning to optimise sustainable polymers (2021-2023). 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Department of Engineering Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution In this project, we will bring together experts in polymer synthesis, polymer engineering and machine learning in order to solve this challenge. Specifically, we will be able to produce polymer systems in which we can carefully vary and measure the relevant properties, such as stiffness or strength, in order to produce high quality training data from which the machines can learn. We will then use the machine learning to show us how to optimise the polymer properties. During this project, we will produce open-source computational tools which will be made available on the internet. Industrial polymer producers will be able to use these toolboxes to develop new polymers, and will also be able to expand and adapt them for future needs. The toolboxes will also support 'distributed manufacturing', allowing small-scale manufacturers worldwide to obtain locally produced polymers designed to have properties that meet their needs. Combined with new production methods such as 3D printing, this will help to deliver a low-waste, localised 'circulareconomy',meeting specific local manufacturing needs. Hence, this project will play a key role in global polymer development over a very wide range of economic scales.
Collaborator Contribution see above
Impact to soon to report
Start Year 2020
 
Description EPSRC Impact Acceleration Award t to work on 'Sustainable polymers for Home Care applications 
Organisation Unilever
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Unilever. C. Williams secured an EPSRC Impact Acceleration Award t to work on 'Sustainable polymers for Home Care applications' (April 2020-March 2021, employing Dr De Jongh). Williams also secured co-funding from the Birkett Scholarship for a new DPhil Student (Lukas Wille, 2020- 2023).
Collaborator Contribution SEE ABOVE
Impact to be updated
Start Year 2020
 
Description EPSRC Prosperity Partnership, Cleaner Futures (Next-Generation Sustainable Materials for Consumer Products) 
Organisation University of Liverpool
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The teams in at U. Oxford (Williams) and Liverpool (Rosseinsky and Cooper) are working on a large-scale collaboration with Unilever to deliver truly sustainable polymers and chemicals and to investigate their aqueous biodegradation. Our joint collaboration has just been awarded an EPSRC Prosperity Partnership Cleaner Futures (Next-Generation Sustainable Materials for Consumer Products). (ukri.org). Our collaboration aims to provide methods to manufacture all the materials used in Unilevere's products whilst avoiding completely the use of virgin petrochemicals and unsustainable materials like palm oil. Our programme will apply natural waste biomass, carbon dioxide and other wastes to efficient processes and to deliver useful products and materials.
Collaborator Contribution See above
Impact Too soon to report.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Econic Technologies. C Williams has secured an EPSRC CASE studentship (2019- 2022) 
Organisation Econic
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Studentship
Collaborator Contribution Studentshipt
Impact to be updated.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Hub 'Science' 3: Catalysis for the Circular Economy and Sustainable Manufacturing 
Organisation University of Bath
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Catalysis is a core area of science that lies at the heart of the chemicals industry - an immensely successful and important part of the overall UK economy, where in recent years the UK output has totalled over £50B annually and is ranked 7th in the world. This position is being maintained in the face of immense competition worldwide. For the UK to sustain its leading position it is essential that innovation in research is maintained, to achieve which the UK Catalysis Hub was established in 2013. The Hub has succeeded over the last four years in bringing together over 40 university groups for innovative and collaborative research programmes in this key area of contemporary science. The success of the Hub can be attributed to its inclusive and open ethos which has resulted in many groups joining its network since its foundation in 2013; to its strong emphasis on collaboration; and to its physical hub on the Harwell campus in close proximity to the Diamond synchrotron, ISIS neutron source and Central Laser Facility, whose successful exploitation for catalytic science has been a major feature of the recent science of the Hub. The next phase of the Catalysis Hub will build on this success and, while retaining the key features and structure of the current hub, will extend its programmes both nationally and internationally. The future hub structure will comprise a core programme which will coordinate the scientific themes of the Hub, which in the initial stages of the next phase will comprise: - Optimising, predicting and designing new catalysts - Catalysis at the water-energy nexus - Catalysis for the circular economy and sustainable manufacturing - Biocatalysis and bio-transformations. The present project concerns the third of these themes whose overall aim is to develop fundamental catalysis with circular and sustainable approaches at their core. This will be of current and future importance to the chemical and chemistry-using industries. The project will comprise the following areas supported by specific workpackages: - New cooperative catalysts for C-C bond forming reactions from CO2; - Activation of C-O bonds for valorisation of bio-derived feedstocks; - Using and understanding sustainable catalytic oxidation processes in flow; - Earth-abundant metals in resource efficient catalysis; - Keeping platform molecules in play: catalytic chemical recycling of polymers; - New sustainable polymer architectures for high performance plastics; - Optimising bio-based platform molecules: establishing diformyl furan as a bio-based platform for polymers. The project will interact strongly with the other hub science projects. The Hub structure is intrinsically multidisciplinary including extensive input from engineering as well as science disciplines and with strong interaction and cross-fertilisation between the different themes. The thematic structure will allow the Hub to cover the major areas of current catalytic science.
Collaborator Contribution see above text
Impact For the UK to sustain its leading position it is essential that innovation in research is maintained, to achieve which the UK Catalysis Hub was established in 2013. The Hub has succeeded over the last four years in bringing together over 40 university groups for innovative and collaborative research programmes in this key area of contemporary science. The success of the Hub can be attributed to its inclusive and open ethos which has resulted in many groups joining its network since its foundation in 2013; to its strong emphasis on collaboration; and to its physical hub on the Harwell campus in close proximity to the Diamond synchrotron, ISIS neutron source and Central Laser Facility, whose successful exploitation for catalytic science has been a major feature of the recent science of the Hub. The next phase of the Catalysis Hub will build on this success and, while retaining the key features and structure of the current hub, will extend its programmes both nationally and internationally. The future hub structure will comprise a core programme which will coordinate the scientific themes of the Hub.
Start Year 2018
 
Description NSF Centre for Bio-based polymers 
Organisation National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Knowledge sharing/exchange
Collaborator Contribution Knowledge sharing/exchange
Impact NOT APPLICABLE
Start Year 2019
 
Description Oxford Engineering DPhil student (through Centre for Doctoral Student in Inorganic Chemistry for Future Manufacturing): 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Department of Engineering Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Studentship
Collaborator Contribution Studentship
Impact to soon to report
Start Year 2019
 
Description SCG Collaboration 
Organisation SCG Chemicals
Country Thailand 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Exchange of catalysts and polymerization processes for evaluation at scale and using industry relevant methods.
Collaborator Contribution Information on the company's view on the circular economy. Testing of catalysts and processes at larger scale. Testing of materials and evaluation of application potential
Impact Not appropriate
Start Year 2019
 
Description 'Women in Chemistry: Making the Difference' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Three Youtube live events with chemistry students at the University of Oxford, plus a challenge for viewers to take part in at home. https://makingthedifference.web.ox.ac.uk/home
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://makingthedifference.web.ox.ac.uk/home
 
Description A-Star Lecture, Singapore (Webinar) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A-Star Lecture, Singapore by Webinar
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description ACS Polymer Division Webinar Polymerization Catalysis 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact ACS Polymer Division Webinar Polymerization Catalysis
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description April 2021 UK Catalysis Hub PhD Student Webinar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 'Switchable Catalysis for the Preparation of CO2-Derived Polymers: The Case of a Heterodinuclear Zn(II)/Mg(II) Organometallic Catalyst'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://ukcatalysishub.co.uk/uk-catalysis-hub-phd-students-webinar-on-catalysis/
 
Description C. Williams and the CS3 work on the Science to Enable Sustainable Plastics was highlighted in Forbes Magazine. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact C. Williams and the CS3 work on the Science to Enable Sustainable Plastics was highlighted in Forbes Magazine. The article is entitled 'More Research On Plastics Is Critical For A Sustainable Future' (https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottsnowden/2020/06/02/more-research-on-plastics-is-critical-for-a-sustainable-future-according-to-report/?sh=6556a8d32d7a) and accompanies the CS3 report (https://www.rsc.org/globalassets/22-new-perspectives/sustainability/progressive-plastics/c19_tl_sustainability_cs3_whitepaper_a4_web_final.pdf).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottsnowden/2020/06/02/more-research-on-plastics-is-critical-for-a-sus...
 
Description C. Williams wrote an editorial for Chemistry World special on plastics entitled 'Addressing the plastics problem'. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact C. Williams wrote an editorial for Chemistry World special on plastics entitled 'Addressing the plastics problem'. The article discuss ways to approach major research challenges where chemistry, driven by application-aware fundamental research and international cooperation, has significant potential to reduce the negative effects of plastics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.chemistryworld.com/opinion/addressing-the-plastics-problem/4011557.article
 
Description Career & Research Talks to School Students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Williams Group Researcher Natalia Reis spoke to 24 Sixth Form students from The Compton School, Barnet, in the Chemistry Teaching Laboratories, Oxford on the 4th March 2020.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2020
 
Description Career & Research Talks to school students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Williams Group Researcher Wouter Lindeboom spoke to 27 Sixth Form students at South Bank UTC in Brixton, London, on the 16th December 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Chemical price reporting agency 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact How do you solve a problem like plastic? For 150 years ICIS has charted the price of the most versatile material on earth.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://icis.shorthandstories.com/how-do-you-solve-a-problem-like-plastic-/index.html?intcmp=carouse...
 
Description Harwell Lumenary Webinar in Catalysis 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact On Wednesday (24 June, 5pm to 6.30pm) the BessemerSociety
hosted a virtual 'Luminary Drinks Webinar' with the Harwell Campus
entitled:

"Solving Global Problems one Crisis at a Time...Next the Environment? How Catalysis Research is Engineering Potential Solutions"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Introducing our DPhils: Holly Yeo 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact This series of short videos showcases students from the University of Oxford - their academic journey and their research. In this video, Researcher Holly Yeo (OxICFM CDT, Williams Group), shares her journey to Oxford and the exciting polymer research she's about to undertake to improve the batteries on which we rely.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEWxF0c87_A
 
Description July 2021 'Plastics to meet our needs' Year 6 Students in the UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Programme Associate Fellows Holly Yeo and Wouter Lindeboom delivered an online workshop on the 9th July to Year 6 students from the Brill C of E Primary School. The workshop focused on looking at the life cycle of synthetic polymers and also included a practical element for the pupils to make a model polymer.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description July 2021 'Trinity Enrichment Talks' Years 7 to 13 Students in the UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Programme Associate Fellow Kam Poon gave a talk about his experience of studying chemistry 'The Future of Plastic: Environmental Challenges and Everyday Life', on the 8th July.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/event/the-future-of-plastics
 
Description July 2021 NSF Centre for Integrated Catalysis Webinar Series 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Activating Renewable Resources Using Heterodinuclear Polymerization Catalysts (Abstract)
This lecture will focus on the catalytic activation of carbon dioxide with epoxides, anhydrides and lactones, some of which are bio-based, to make oxygenated polymers. In particular, the opportunities to improve activity through exploiting synergy in dinuclear metal complexes will be explored. Insights into the phenomena which may underpin catalytic synergy will be discussed with reference to catalysts combining transition metals with alkali/alkaline earth metals. In the second part, organometallic heterodinuclear catalysts will be described which improve upon end-group control and enable production of sequenced block polymers. The importance of control over the organometallic chemistry underpinning their selectivity in switchable polymerization catalyses will be discussed and some proof of concept performances as ductile plastics, elastomers and pressure sensitive adhesives will be provided.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.chemistry.ucla.edu/seminars/nsf-center-integrated-catalysis-webinar-series-9
 
Description June 2021 Ask a Chemist: Dr Bradley Cowie: All age Students in the UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A live Q&A session with Programme Associate Bradly Cowie.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL http://cwilliams.chem.ox.ac.uk/past-.aspx
 
Description June 2021 Plastics from Another Perspective Year 12 Students in the UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Programme Associates (Wouter, Holly, and Kam) delivered this workshop live. Students had the opportunity to ask questions of researchers working in this field.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/event/plastics-from-another-perspective
 
Description KS4 Lecture-demonstration 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A new KS4 lecture-demonstration on kinetics has been designed and delivered based on Williams research group catalysts (Saskia O'Sullivan). The work contextualizes the catalysts and carbon capture and utilisation. This was delivered on 14th January 2020 to 180 Year 10 students at Saint Ambrose College, Altrincham, Nr. Manchester.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description MatyLab Webinar in Polymer Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Matyjaszewski Lab Webinar Series 2020: Webinar series during Covid-19 shutdown organized by PhD students from the atyjaszewski Polymer Group at Carnegie Mellon University. Charlotte Williams gave a talk titled 'Recent developments in polymerisation catalysis: making polymers from CO2 and controlling CO2 placement inblock polymers to improve properties.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description May 2021 Plastics from Another Perspective Year 10 Students in the UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Programme Associates (Wouter, Holly, Jamie, Lukas, Natalia and Kam) delivered this workshop live to Year 10 students from Fernhill College. Students had the opportunity to ask questions of researchers working in this field.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/event/plastics-from-another-perspective
 
Description October 2021 "Waste Age: What can design do?" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Our work was featured at The Design Museum London. Our exhibit demonstrated how polymers can be made from waste CO2 and citrus peel (limonene oxide). In an accompanying film, Prof. Charlotte Williams discusses how our chemistry might contribute to a sustainable future for plastics. The exhibition was open until 20 February 2022.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/waste-age-what-can-design-do
 
Description Oxford Martin School Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact C Williams gave a public outreach lecture entitled 'Future Options to Make Plastics More Sustainable' at the Oxford Martin School. The lecture was well attended by a range of experts, students, members of the public and industrialists.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/events/making-plastics-more-sustainable/
 
Description Presentation at the UK-Canada Summit on Solid State Batteries 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The 3-day summit will exclusively bring together leading researchers, industry stakeholders, and
funders from both countries to develop a concrete plan for collaboration on the development,
commercialisation, and deployment of solid-state battery technology.
The genesis for the Summit is based on the partnership of two leading research consortia:
NRC's Next Generation Materials for Solid State Batteries Project consortium
(led by Dr. Yaser Abu-Lebdeh, National Research Council of Canada - NRC)
Faraday Institution's SOLBAT research consortium
(led by Prof. Peter Bruce and Prof. Mauro Pasta, University of Oxford)

Charlotte Williams presented a talk titled 'Exploring Carbon Dioxide Derived
Copolymers as Binders and Electrolytes for
Future Solid State Battery Applications'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Primary Lecture-demonstration 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A presentation and discussion about the research of the Williams group on sustainable plastics was delivered by Saskia O'Sullivan (Chemistry Outreach officer) to Years 4, 5 and 6 at St. Nicholas Primary School in Marston (approx. 180 pupils) on the 12th March 2020.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description SCG-Oxford University Workshop on Circular Economy Plastics 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact SCG-Oxford University Workshop on Circular Economy Plastics. Plenary lecture to SCG executives and scientists working in plastics about how to make plastics suitable for the circular economy
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
 
Description Super Science Saturdays at Oxford Museum of Natural History (online) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Williams Group outreach team have worked closely with the Museum of Natural History to produce an interactive webpage on sustainable plastics for the bi-annual Super Science Saturday event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://oumnh.web.ox.ac.uk/super-science-saturday-online
 
Description The Oxford Martin School Future of Plastics Programme- Programme Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The OMS FOP Programme website has been live since October 2019. It provides a key overview of the
research challenges, goals of the programme and team membership. It is regularly updated to include
publicity for upcoming events, news and to highlight all project outputs (e.g. publications, expert reports,
presentations and webinars).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/future-of-plastics
 
Description University of Oxford News Story 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The University of Oxford joins a major new collaboration with academia and industry to use sustainable chemical technologies to accelerate the UK's transition to net zero carbon emissions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2021-05-14-major-academic-industry-collaboration-tackle-global-challenges-...
 
Description Virtual Autumn Chemistry Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Williams Group Member Wouter Lindeboom presented a talk entitled 'Plastic from another perspective' to Year 10-13 students and their teachers on Wednesday 30th September 2020.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/visiting-and-outreach/outreach-events/virtual-autumn-c...
 
Description Webinar- The Future of Plastics: How do we move to a new plastics economy? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact C. Williams, C. Hepburn and N. Ebner all presented in a webinar on 'The Future of Plastics: How do we move to a new plastics economy?' The session explored the technical, economic and legal issues around a future plastics economy as well as the challenges and opportunities it offers. There was a lively debate and discussion with the audience which included 340 attendees.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7kI8oJy02M