December 10, 2010 12:00AM
The Kansas Polymer Research Center at Pittsburg State University has announced the nod for nearly $1.3 million in federal money from the 2009 omnibus bill, providing the award-winning center with funding that will support additional research and jobs in agriculture and bio-based product technology.
Steve Robb, executive director of the Business and Technology Institute at PSU and the Kansas Polymer Research Center, announced to his research staff that $1,284,000 had been secured by Sen. Sam Brownback through the bill, which passed in the U.S. Senate Tuesday and was signed into law by the President Wednesday.
“We see this money as a real investment, because it allows us to continue our contributions to the science of bio-based polyols,” Robb explained. “Our research is helping the United States to become less dependent on foreign oil from the Middle East by moving us away from petroleum-based products.”
Scientists at the KPRC are changing the foam and plastics in products we use everyday by including “greener” materials such as soybean and other vegetable oils – natural products grown and harvested in Kansas – as opposed to the traditional petroleum-based approach. Domestic jobs in agriculture are being created through the work of bio-based scientists.
After the funds are allocated through the USDA, the KPRC will submit a research proposal identifying the work they plan to do. The money should start to flow to the center by September. Last year, the KPRC was awarded $1.1 million through the 2008 omnibus bill. In each case, the money is disbursed over a three-year period.
Robb said the center plans to hire additional scientists with the funding, as well as extend current research.
“This money is extremely important to us,” said Dr. Ivan Javni, one of the center’s scientists responsible for its receipt of the 2007 Presidential Green Award. The center was one of only five organizations in the country to win that prestigious honor. “It gives us long-term stability and extends our research into new areas that so far have been out of our reach.”
For more information, contact Steve Robb at 620-235-4925.