GRIPS 2021: Global Research and Innovation in Plastics Sustainability - Keynote Speakers Unveiled

Posted on: 18/02/2021

UKCPN & KTN announce keynote speakers, seminars and more for GRIPS 2021.

Global Research and Innovation in Plastics Sustainability (GRIPS) 2021 is a conference, exhibition and showcase that will be held online from 16th – 18th March 2021. It is hosted by the UK Circular Plastics Network, organised by KTN and supported by Innovate UK, EPSRC and UKRI.

GRIPS will boast keynote talks from Professor Richard Thompson, Professor John McGeehan, Professor Duncan Wingham, Helen Bird of WRAP and KTN’s CEO, 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 of the 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 1,000 delegates from across all industries, will also feature 50 innovation and research-driven exhibitors on a virtual show floor. Confirmed exhibitors include the British Plastics Federation, Potter Clarkson LLP, Centre for Enzyme Innovation at the University of Portsmouth, Petit Pli, and Interface Polymers. Attendees will be able to learn about some of the world’s best initiatives and developments, striving to make plastics less likely to reach landfills, end up incinerated, or become fugitive in the environment.

“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. We’ll 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’s 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.”

Dr Sally Beken | Polymer Knowledge Transfer Manager at KTN

What’s on at GRIPS 2021?

  • An exhibition and conference
  • Online attendee networking platform
  • An academic speaker programme of cutting-edge research in plastics, including behaviour change and business modelling
  • A business led programme of innovations in plastic sustainability
  • A pitching event – highlighting a portfolio of UK funded projects and selected International projects
  • An investment panel, where potential investable ideas will be presented
  • Sessions include: funding opportunities and funded projects; microfibres; textiles and fashion; sustainability in the health, chemical and agriculture sectors; plastics and net zero; Women in Plastics; the role of AI in plastics; an international reception and much more

Day one of the event will include talks from Paul Davidson, UKRI’s plastics sustainability challenge director, Melissa Klembara from the US Department of Energy, and David Rogers, Head of International Resource Management at WRAP, on global investment opportunities.  There will be pitches from exciting start-ups with initiatives to reduce plastic waste, and focused discussions on bio-polymers, microfibres, and plastics in the textiles and fashion sector.

On day two Neil Witten, Innovation Lead at Innovate UK, will lead the discussion highlighting all the latest novel materials and sustainably polymer composite innovations. There will be talks on the sustainability of medical plastics from Professor Medhi Tavakoli of KTN, and a discussion exploring plastic usage in the construction industry from Katherine Adams, Technical Lead at the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products, Lynne Potter, Sustainability Manager at MACE Group, and Richard McKinglay from AXION. There will also be a heads-up session looking at how regulation will change in the future, and a showcase of all the latest innovations in capturing fugitive plastics.

Day three will feature innovative business models and ways to support consumer engagement to support plastics sustainability. Experts from the Universities of Bath and Sheffield as well as Imperial College London will explore what we can learn from consumer behaviours that will lead to a more sustainable use of polymers in the future, and a panel of experts including Adam Read, External Affairs Director at Suez, and Professor John McGeehan from the University of Portsmouth, will debate the innovations that will make the biggest impacts to plastics sustainability.

“This event promises to showcase the breadth of exceptional UK research and innovation we’ve 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.”

Nick Cliffe | Deputy Challenge Director, Innovate UK

Exhibitor Information

By exhibiting at GRIPS, you will raise your company profile and share your plastics sustainability offer to a wide global audience; our event can generate leads and help maximise your future business growth. It costs £149.00 + VAT to exhibit. To view full exhibitor information, including the benefits of exhibiting, please click here. Please click here to register as an exhibitor (select ‘Exhibitor’ from the drop-down menu).

Become a Media Partner

You can become a media partner for GRIPS. To find out more about this please click here. E-mail to express your interest.

IOM3 Polymer Group Award Poster Competition – for innovations in plastics sustainability

Entrants should submit a single PowerPoint slide summarising your innovation and its impacts on future use and disposal of plastics with an accompanying 250-word statement. An expert panel will review the entries with the best posters being invited to present at the conference and the final award presented on closing day. The winner will receive £100 plus a virtual registration to PVC 2021. More details and how to submit can be viewed here.

Delegate registration is free for the 3 days.

To register your attendance at GRIPS 2021 please click here.

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