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Kansas Polymer Research Center receives $1.6 million federal grant

A $1.6 million grant was awarded to the Kansas Polymer Research Center by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The federal grant will provide instrumentation and equipment to the National Institute for Materials Advancement (NIMA), at Pittsburg State University Tyler Research Center, 1204 research Rd, Pittsburg.  

The Kansas Polymer Research Center (KPRC) is a Presidential Green Chemistry Award winner, housed in the Tyler Research Center of Pittsburg State University. Centrally located in the mid-America four-states region, the KPRC has an internationally recognized competence in bio-based polymers research, with a strong emphasis in polyurethanes, holds multiple patents, and operates at a fraction of the cost of the more visible institutions. 

NIMA focuses on the development of new technologies in plastics and polymers. The new institute promises to diversify the regional workforce, support business relocations and startups, and will result in multiple career opportunities for Pitt State students. This project will expand technology-based manufacturing operations and encourage economic diversification throughout the region. 

“Pittsburg State University is leading the nation in polymer innovation and we are proud to see their cutting-edge work recognized through this grant,” said Governor Laura Kelly in a media release. “My administration is committed to stimulating economic development statewide, and by creating 50 new jobs and generating an estimated $2 million in private investment, this grant will strengthen the Pittsburg community for years to come.”  

The grant will primarily fund analytical and physical testing equipment in the Kansas Polymer Research Center, but it will also provide new equipment in the College of Technology’s Kansas Technology Center for hands-on training. 

“These EDA funds will significantly increase and upgrade the materials research capabilities in the KPRC,” said Tim Dawsey, Executive Director for the Advancement of Applied Science & Technology Tyler Research Center. “And, having the latest laboratory technologies available will strengthen our ability to attract, and recruit top talent for new research positions. All of the equipment will be focused on materials related research and education. By training on the latest equipment, graduates will enter the workforce ready to engage in operations immediately.”  

The Kansas Polymer Research Center, housed in the Tyler Research Center, is the nexus for the National Institute for Materials Advancement (NIMA), a new regional research engine focused on bio-based materials rooted in polymer chemistry and plastics technology. 

“Realization of this vision leverages a multi-decade core competence in polyurethane (PUR) chemistry to manifest our capacity to deliver world-class, value-based research in applied sciences and build demand for our creative services within the polymers and plastics industry,” Dawsey said. “Expansion beyond our PUR core competence will follow a market-directed path starting with our burgeoning expertise in electroactive materials and including a new emphasis in plastics recycling technologies. As we launch the National Institute for Materials Advancement (NIMA), our focus will be on developing a strong materials (polymers & plastics) technology cluster in the four-states region. With this focus we anticipate providing a growing skilled workforce targeted to support existing materials-based manufacturing operations; attract business expansions from outside the region; and support launching of new materials-based operations locally.” 

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