Grant awards to fund cutting edge research at PSU 

  Thursday, February 18, 2021 9:00 AM
  Science and Technology, News

Pittsburg, KS


Scientists at the Kansas Polymer Research Center, housed in the Tyler Research Center at Pittsburg State University were awarded three grants totaling almost $150,000 to fund cutting edge research on the production of polymers from soybean oil. 

Funded by the Kansas Soybean Commission, the awards will support the work of Jasna Djonlagic, Ram Gupta, and Santi Santrawho will be assisted by student researchers. 

Djonlagic’s project will focus on replacing harmful solvents that are typically used in paints and adhesives with water.  

This would obviously have a positive green impact in the industry and is also hopeful of reducing costs,” said Tim Dawsey, executive director of the KPRC. 

Gupta is researching the production of adhesives and sealants from plant resources. 

The huge, and growing, adhesives and sealants market is critical to a broad range of applications, from paper and packaging to automotive and aviation,” Dawsey said. “Moving these traditional petroleum-based products to more plant-based materials will be a strong positive step toward diversification of our regional economy by leveraging our agricultural roots.” 

Santra’s project is focused on a method to simplify the process of taking soybean oil and making a raw material for use in producing polymers.  

By simplifying the process, it is hoped that his approach will also reduce the cost of the raw material and make it much more attractive to industry,” Dawsey said.  

Dawsey said these grants are yet another recognition of the Kansas Polymer Research Center’s  leadership in developing new bio-derived materials for a broad range of applications.  

The scientists at the KPRC have been on the cutting edge of plant-based polymer research for over 25 years now, and it is energizing to see this continued vote of confidence from a leading agricultural organization such as the Kansas Soybean Commission,” he said. 

About the Kansas Polymer Research Center 

Located on the campus of Pittsburg State University, the KPRC is unique: It combines internationally recognized scientists from industry with academic laboratory resources and the processing expertise of PSU’s College of Technology in a state-of-the-art research facility. The focus: vegetable oil-based polymer research and development with a strong core competence in polyurethanes and electroactive materials. KPRC scientists work with industrial partners, state and federal agencies, and producer associations on developing and commercializing PSU’s intellectual property. Learn more at 

About the Commission 

The Kansas Soybean Commission is a group of nine farmer-leaders, elected by their fellow Kansas soybean farmers, who work to promote Kansas soybeans. The KSC was established in 1977. 

KSC’s mission is to improve the profit potential of all Kansas soybean farmers. One of its five priorities to support that mission is to support value-added projects, including the development and commercialization of new industrial uses for soy. Learn more at