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Australia seals plastics deal with Northern Ireland

Scientists from Australia's top Engineering University have flown into Belfast today to seal a partnership with Queen's aimed at revolutionising the plastics industry.

The agreement will be signed between the School of Engineering, University of Queensland (UQ) and the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen's and is based around collaboration on polymer research which make up nearly 98% of plastics encountered in daily life.

Ranging from car parts to electronic packaging; from adhesives to telephones and from proteins within our body to washing up liquids; polymers are tiny molecules strung in long repeating chains which are used the world over.

Queen's research staff have been instrumental in helping local and international industry in the design and development of new machinery and products and support innovation. Examples include designing polymer packaging for the dairy industry and the pharmaceutical and medical industry.

The global partnership will enable better coordination of Australian, Northern Ireland and EU co-funded research projects; foster undergraduate, postgraduate and staff exchanges and lead to sharing of research equipment and joint grant applications.

Professor Peter Halley, Director at the University of Queensland said: “This agreement will formalize links between internationally leading research laboratories in nanomaterials, biopolymers and polymer processing, and lead to new and exciting opportunities for student training and new international research projects.”

Dr Tony McNally from the Polymer Research Cluster at Queen's said: “Bioengineering and nanotechnology are playing a major part in the ‘knowledge based economy’ and this agreement will allow us to play a leading role in the development of many polymer based technologies.”

Collaborating since 1999 through staff and student exchanges, the two universities are internationally recognised in novel nanomaterials design, biomaterials, polymer rheology, polymer processing and process modeling. This agreement allows undergraduate and postgraduate students to be trained by international experts in these fields.

Lisa Mitchell | alfa
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