• Susan

Polymer experts to speak at first of its kind global plastics sustainability conference

The first ever Global Research and Innovation in Plastics Sustainability (GRIPS) conference, taking place from 16 to 19 March 2021, will feature 150 of industry and academia’s best and brightest.

Among the 150 expert speakers, the online conference, organised by KTN and hosted by UK Circular Plastics Network, will boast keynote talks from Professor Richard Thompson, Professor John McGheehan, Professor Duncan Wingham, Helen Bird of WRAP and Dr Alicia Greated, who will share the latest thinking, research and technologies in plastics sustainability.


Professor Ed Kosior of Nextek will be dialling in from Australia and Marc A Hillmyer McKnight, presidential endowed chair director of the Centre for Sustainable Polymers, Department of Chemistry University of Minnesota, will be speaking from the US. There is also an international reception hosted by the UK’s Department of International Trade with speakers joining from Nigeria and India.



The three day event, which is expected to bring together over 1000 delegates from across all industries, will also feature 50 innovation and research driven exhibitors on a virtual show floor. Attendees will be able to learn about some of the world’s best initiatives and developments, all striving to make plastics and persistent polymers less likely to reach landfills, end up incinerated, or become fugitive in the environment.


Dr Sally Beken, polymer knowledge transfer manager at KTN, said: ‘GRIPS 2021 will be the first of a new global event that will take place every two years to celebrate all the great work in plastics sustainability and to drive it forwards. It will help with the commercialisation of new innovations and technological developments by connecting them with the people and organisations they need drawn from up and down the entire polymer and plastics supply chain.


‘We will be showcasing lots of exciting technology at this first show, and we already have hundreds of delegates signed up from the plastic packaging, FMCG, construction, agriculture, textiles, and healthcare industries, to name but a few – so there is going to be lots of really positive networking opportunities too. I can’t tell you how excited we are, this is going to go a long way in our collective mission to reduce the amount of plastic going to landfill, being incinerated or ending up polluting the environment in some other way.’


The event is being supported by Innovate UK, EPSRC and UKRI. Nick Cliffe, deputy challenge director, Innovate UK, said: ‘This event promises to showcase the breadth of exceptional UK research and innovation we have funded over the past few years, as well as bringing together experts in sustainable plastic from around the World. If your research programme, business or area of interest includes sustainable plastics then there will be something of interest here, as well as the opportunity to share ideas, find potential collaborators and hopefully give you inspiration to help you take your ideas forward.’