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UK-China polymer partnership marks 10th anniversary


Polymer IRC buildings

The University of Bradford will this week mark the 10th anniversary of a ground-breaking partnership with China to promote research into polymers.

The Science Bridges China collaboration was dubbed “second to none in the world” by its founder Prof Phil Coates, director of the University’s Polymer IRC (Interdisciplinary Research Centre).

The partnership led to the formation of the UK-China Advanced Materials Research Institute, which has over 300 academics involved in joint research projects and has already resulted in numerous scientific breakthroughs, principally in healthcare, but with applications in other areas such as engineering and energy use.

In 2018, Prof Coates (pictured below) received China’s top scientific award for overseas academics presented by President Xi Jinping at a ceremony in Beijing.

Prof Phil Coates

He said: “Through Science Bridges China, we have built a community of researchers second to none in the world - and it's the envy of all around, as we have such a good working relationship. In fact, it’s more than a partnership, it’s a community.”

Science Bridges China, initially funded by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is a unique collaboration between the UK and some of China’s top universities. Research has thus far focussed heavily on healthcare innovation, aiming to solve real world problems through scientific breakthroughs.

The University of Bradford’s Polymer IRC is one of the leading polymer research centres in the world and works with companies big and small on cutting edge projects, creating advanced materials, including super lightweight ropes to tether oil rigs at sea, ‘bioresorbable’ heart stents, superior water pipes, and ‘plastic wood’.

A researcher looks at a microscope

Prof Coates said: “When it comes to using polymers to create advanced materials, no other university has anything like this, both in terms of equipment and level of expertise.

“We now have this long standing relationship with China, with some of their top institutions, their best academics, that facilitates collaborative research that will ultimately lead to world-changing products. We are very proud of our relationship with China, its importance cannot be underestimated.”

Science Bridges China will celebrate a decade of partnership with a special conference on May 18 and 19, which will include high level government speakers and a number of online seminars.

Select this link to apply for attendance.