A $1.4 million federal grant will help the Kansas Polymer Research Center at Pitt State to create new jobs in the region.
The grant, from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will fund research by scientists and students at the KPRC to develop and promote new polymeric materials and plastics processing capabilities.
“Everything we’re doing is around creating jobs,” said Tim Dawsey, executive director of the KPRC. “We have a huge agricultural economy here which is very vulnerable to the next drought, freeze, or flood.”
“We must diversify it to keep it sustainable, and to do that, we’ll use our plastics and polymer expertise to develop new technology-based jobs — higher paying tech jobs, manufacturing job — into the area. That means taking agricultural products, byproducts, or waste, and turning them into value-added products, and then commercializing them.”
The grant, a continuation of a previous grant, had the support of Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.).
It will be used by the National Institute for Materials Advancement (NIMA), housed in the KPRC, which will leverage a 50-year history in polymers and plastics, the expertise of scientists who work there, and the assistance of students enrolled in one of the nation’s only polymer programs: the Polymer Chemistry Initiative.