‘Green growth’ sustainable technologies project launches
The Innovation Centre for Applied Sustainable Technologies (iCAST), a £17m collaboration aiming to translate sustainable chemical technology research into commercial products, recently launched in Swindon.
Involving the Universities of Oxford and Bath as well as research and development partners, iCAST is supported by the Research England Development Fund and will be a collaborative R&D hub focused on the global challenges of the climate emergency, sustainable development, and plastic pollution.
Professor Charlotte Williams, Deputy Director of iCAST and a Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Oxford, said that “one of the benefits of iCAST is that it builds on substantial parallel investments in our universities and facilities – in infrastructure and people.
“We have a range of different facilities at the Universities of Oxford and Bath covering all aspects of scientific and engineering discovery, but we also are supported by colleagues in areas such as Economic, Policy and Law, who help to make sure that those discoveries don’t sit in isolation but are truly implementable at scale.”
One of the core research programmes at iCAST will look at circular plastics, working with the plastic industry to identify gaps in the properties and impacts of biobased, recyclable, and degradable materials, while other programmes will focus on biobased chemical feedstocks, and sustainable manufacturing and engineering materials. Some of the research programmes will be led by Professors Ben Davis and Kylie Vincent, both from Oxford’s Department of Chemistry, as well as Professor Clive Siviour from the Department of Engineering Science.
At the launch event South Swindon MP Robert Buckland declared iCAST open, saying that “this centre is about allowing us to conserve, sustain and hand on to the next generation a world fit for all of us to live in safely, and not just us, but the animals and plants we share it with”.
Professor Matthew Davidson, Director of iCAST and Bath’s Centre for Sustainable & Circular Technologies, added that “iCAST is a critical mass of connected expertise and a unique consortium in the UK. We really hope that iCAST can make a huge difference to accelerate the translation to clean growth by tackling some really challenging problems”.
iCAST will aim to bring together innovative companies with expert researchers to deliver 10 joint industry projects per year, tackling critical challenges to clean growth and offering a platform for collaboration and networking in the sector.