Trinity researchers seek solutions to plastic problems in SFI Future Innovator competition

Posted on: 15 February 2021

Researchers from Trinity are among four teams set to compete for SFI Future Innovator Prizes of €2 million, which support the development of innovative solutions to the increasingly important issues of food waste and plastics.

Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, today announced the 15 teams that have been shortlisted. The teams comprising Trinity researchers will all compete in the plastics category, which is made up of 10 of the teams.

The SFI Plastics Challenge will support the development of innovative STEM-led solutions that will enable the sustainable use of plastics in a circular economy, restore and preserve our oceans’ health, and maximise how we use the earth’s finite resources.

The projects aim to address problems across strategic challenge areas including removing plastics from coastal areas; reducing reliance on single use plastics in laboratories; upcycling plastic waste and utilising plastic waste for sustainable battery technologies.

The Trinity researchers are: John Boland and Jing Jing Wang (Microplastic-free Plastics; minimising the release of micro- and nano-plastics from plastic products); Ramesh Babu Padamati (TURNKEY; Turning plastic and food waste into key value-added products; Saranya Rameshkumar and Yurii K Gun’ko (GREEN CLEAN; upcycling contaminated post-consumer plastic waste; and Mick Morris and Aran Rafferty (EADROM; removing plastic from food and beverage packaging).

Congratulating the competing teams, Minister Harris said:

I am delighted to announce the fifteen teams who will go on to compete as part of the SFI Future Innovator Prize. The SFI Future Innovator Prize is a challenge-based prize funding programme that seeks to support Ireland’s best and brightest, to develop novel, potentially disruptive, technologies to address significant societal challenges. On this occasion, it is about tackling food and plastic waste. I am really excited to see the outcome of their work and the response to these key national challenges.”