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Universities establish bioplastics research center

Three universities are joining forces to establish The Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites to combine academic and private resources to study technical issues surrounding renewably sourced materials. "Our plan is to conduct pre-competitive research that would benefit many companies," said Meg Sobkowicz Kline, a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, in an interview at Innovation Takes Root in Orlando, FL. Participating companies will be able to use results of the research on a royalty-free basis. Research projects will be determined by the members.

Many heavyweights such as Rubbermaid and 3M are already on board and several more are expected to join.

The participating schools are University of Massachusetts Lowell, Iowa State University, and Washington State University. Sobkowicz-Kline is site director for the program at  UMass Lowell. 

The cost to join is $30,000 for companies with more than 500 employees and $15,000 for companies with fewer than 500.

Administrative costs are being underwritten by the National Science Foundation under a program to encourage collaborative research.

A kickoff meeting will be held later this year to determine organizational structure and by-laws. More information is available at

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