RAPRA and the University of Sheffield join forces to boost polymer research

Sheffield's Polymer Centre and the Rubber and Plastics Research Association (RAPRA) have announced a partnership agreement that is set to significantly boost industrial collaboration in polymer research.

The new partnership will serve the needs of companies in polymer manufacturing, processing and end-use by connecting them with the UK's largest single-institution network of academic polymer experts, the University of Sheffield's Polymer Centre.

A crucial aspect of the service RAPRA provides is to create, promote and manage links between centres of excellence for academic research, sources of funding, technical service provision and its members in the wider polymer related community.

This was a key motivation for the partnership with Sheffield, explained Steve Shaw, RAPRA Operations Director: "RAPRA is extremely pleased to have initiated stronger links to the world-class polymer science and engineering expertise at the University of Sheffield. The University's Polymer Centre and contract research spin-out FaraPack Polymers both offer client-focused access to the expertise at Sheffield.

"These organisations tick all the boxes in terms of being Preferred Providers and Preferred Partners, with the added convenience and ease of communication for our members of being co-located at the University of Sheffield."

He added: "Having been recommended to me by several RAPRA members, they will be valuable assets in the RAPRA portfolio of world class Preferred Providers and Partners."

As part of this agreement, the Polymer Centre and FaraPack will offer free, expert technical assessments to RAPRA members and will be looking for other ways to assist RAPRA members with new product development, their existing manufacturing processes and other technology and training opportunities.

Professor Steve Armes, Director of both the Polymer Centre and FaraPack Polymers, welcomed the news: "We aim to undertake research of the highest scientific excellence with genuine, large-scale economic and societal impact. RAPRA's global reach and our Preferred Partner status will help us to integrate our expertise into forward-thinking companies across the world."

Notes for Editors: The Rubber And Plastics Research Association (RAPRA) Limited is an independent Not-for-Profit Membership Association for companies in polymer manufacturing, processing or end use. The organisation was formed over 90 years ago as one of the original government-funded Research Associations, but has received no such direct support for many years. Even so, with the on-going support of its members, they have continued to make a vital contribution to the research and development of innovative new materials, products and processes by providing privileged access to a range of services including technical, information, business development, skills and training.

Contact Steve Shaw, Operations Director: sshaw@RAPRAlimited.org; 01952 458463

The Polymer Centre at the University of Sheffield is a network of 45 academic experts in polymer science and engineering. Located in the Faculties of Science, Engineering and Medicine, Dentistry and Health, our members offer combined, interdisciplinary expertise from underpinning science to the diverse applications of polymers in industry and healthcare. The Centre's business development team offers bespoke technology and training opportunities to industry based on this expertise.

Contact: Dr Liam Sutton, Polymer Centre Manager: l.r.sutton@sheffield.ac.uk; 0114 2229383

FaraPack Polymers Ltd offers contract research, synthesis and analysis services to polymer-using companies. A wholly-owned spin-out of the University of Sheffield, FaraPack undertakes short- and medium-term work on a fully business-to-business basis, drawing on its unique access to the Polymer Centre's expertise where appropriate.

Contact: Chris Saywell, Operations Manager: chris.saywell@farapackpolymers.com; 0114 2229499

With nearly 25,000 students from 125 countries, the University of Sheffield is one of the UK's leading and largest universities. A member of the Russell Group, it has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. The University of Sheffield has been named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen's Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, 2007).

These prestigious awards recognise outstanding contributions by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom's intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield also boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and many of its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world. The University's research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad. Its partnership with Leeds and York Universities in the White Rose Consortium has a combined research power greater than that of either Oxford or Cambridge.

For further information please contact: Amy Stone, Media Relations Officer, on 0114 2221046 or email a.f.stone@sheffield.ac.uk