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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S025529/1
Title: Exeter Multidisciplinary Plastics Research hub: ExeMPLaR
Principal Investigator: Hopkinson, Professor P
Other Investigators:
Garside, Professor R Saunders, Professor CE Howard, Professor M
Lenton, Professor TM Gaston, Professor KJ Memon, Professor FA
Fleming, Professor LE Miller, Mrs M Yan, Professor X
Smith, Dr J Ghita, Professor O Boehm, Professor S
Godley, Professor B Shaddick, Professor G Galloway, Professor TS
Savage, Dr L Morrissey, Professor K
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Mr P McCutchion
Project Partners:
ashortwalk Limited Closed Loop UK Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP
Cornwall Council Devon County Council Eden Project
Ellen Macarthur Foundation Falmouth Exeter Plus Fifteen Cornwall
Food Packaging Forum Foundation Keep Britain Tidy Marine Conservation Society
Materiom Plastics Europe South West Water Limited
Taunton Council Tideford Organics UK Atomic Energy Authority
UK Water Industry Research Ltd (UKWIR) Zoological Soc London Inst of Zoology
Department: Business and Management
Organisation: University of Exeter
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 January 2019 Ends: 30 June 2021 Value (£): 1,009,856
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Food processing Manufact. Enterprise Ops& Mgmt
Waste Management Waste Minimisation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Food and Drink
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
29 Oct 2018 UKRI Creative Circular Plastic Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
In a circular economy, clean growth is achieved by increasing the value derived from existing and planned economic infrastructure, products and materials which in turn significantly reduces or eliminates negative externalities. Increased value can be achieved by maintaining the integrity of a product or material at a higher level, using products longer, cascading their use in adjacent value chains and designing pure, high quality feedstocks (avoiding contamination and toxicity). A circular economy approach to plastics addresses simultaneously the accumulation, impact and costs in the environment whilst maintaining applications for multiple high value purposes. To translate potential to reality requires new circular plastics systems that a) co-ordinate and integrate key system players and activities across the value chain b) are underpinned by rigorous scientific research evidence; c) promote novel and creative approaches to the circulation and cascading of plastics in society and; d) demonstrate and proof points in support of decision-making and action at varying s

Ths proposal will connect excellent institutional research activities within a single highly visible Multidisciplinary Plastics Research Hub - "ExeMPlaR" led by the University of Exeter to provide the first stage in a comprehensive, systematic and coordinated approach to the formation of a novel and creative circular economies, using regional demonstrators in the SW of England to test a number of key building blocks. This will be based on system-oriented innovation and high quality inter-disciplinary and collaborative scientific research within a proven, cohesive circular economy framework to address both the cause(s) of the problems and efforts to solve them rather than just treating the symptoms. This research effort involves the demonstration of the technical feasibility and superior economic, material, health, environmental and social value of a circular economy system re-design against a current linear base case. Expert-led, technical solutions by themselves however are unlikely to be effective and require in addition a theory of change that connects human behaviours, social systems and structures with circular economy principles. ExeMPLaR will bring together business, policy, community, environmental, and media representatives with a shared 'narrative' (in this case , a new Circular Plastics Economy) values and ideas, to jointly identify and work on a complex set of activities and pilot projects, that together form an effective innovation ecosystem (WP1). EXeMPLaR will undertake a novel and creative approach to impact by applying the principles of networks of transformative change into a circular economy project. ExeMPLaR therefore focusses on the current plastic system and address the potential to create higher value from existing plastic flows, create new opportunities for regional design and closed loop manufacturing and community initiatives, reduce negative externalities and create networks for transformational change to co-design and support systems innovations required at regional scale. To achieve this vision many challenges have to be overcome.

To start the process of creating effective regional plastics economies, ExeMPLaR will synthesise an authoritative evidence base to inform regional actions, interventions and evaluation. This will build on a wide range of world leading plastics research at Exeter. We will translate these findings into the first stage of an evaluation tool and apply these to three front runner regional interventions, and additional smaller projects co-designed and prioritized by our network, to test opportunities for re-using, replacing or eliminating certain categories of fossil fuel derived plastic. After testing the impacts, outcomes and value creation potential we will address the potential challenges and enablers to replication and scaling these interventions at regional and national scale.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.ex.ac.uk