Announcement of Opportunity: Enabling Research in Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging

UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), is inviting proposals under the Enabling Research workstream for projects to establish academic‑led research that addresses widely understood problems in relation to plastic packaging, whose solutions are unknown today, but which if solved will unlock existing barriers to fundamental systems change, and make an important contribution to achieving the objectives of the SSPP Challenge.

UKRI will host a webinar 11:00 – 12:30 on Monday 10 February 2020 to support the funding opportunity. For more information see: Briefing Webinar: Enabling Research in Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging.

This call comprises part of an investment under the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), which aims to establish the UK as a leading innovator in smart and sustainable plastic packaging for consumer products, delivering cleaner growth across the supply chain, with a significant reduction in plastic waste entering the environment by 2025.

The SSPP Challenge seeks to deliver sustainable environmental, societal and/or economic benefits. UKRI intends to support a breadth of research which responds to current knowledge gaps and will unlock opportunities to transform the plastic packaging system. Indicative research themes have been identified to develop a balanced programme of research activity across the plastic packaging supply chain:

  • behavioural insights (consumer and business),
  • supply chain, and business and economic models,
  • new plastic packaging designs,
  • new recyclable materials,
  • recycling technologies and processes, and,
  • environmental impacts of existing and new plastics.

Other research themes may be proposed, that are in scope and that will enhance the integration of and collaboration across the plastic packaging supply chain. Projects supported by this call should be innovative, with potential to deliver more environmentally, socially and/or economically sustainable approaches to plastic packaging design, manufacture, use, and end-of-life recovery of value, bringing together research expertise within and across disciplines, and co-created with industry, where appropriate.

The total available budget for this Enabling Research call is up to £8m (80% Full Economic Cost). UKRI anticipates funding around 10 research projects lasting between 18 and 36 months.

Projects with a maximum duration of 36 months are expected to start from 1 November 2020. Later start dates will be considered for shorter duration projects. All funds must be spent by the end of the SSPP Challenge on 31 March 2024.

UKRI will seek to support a breadth of research projects from across the plastic packaging supply chain to create a balanced programme that addresses the SSPP Challenge objectives.

Further information on the call and how to submit an application can be found in the Announcement of Opportunity document (PDF, 389KB)