Academic Research Grants
Seed Funding to Reduce Toxics
TURI has recently awarded four grants to UMass Lowell faculty to conduct research that identifies and tests less hazardous substances used in resins, nail polish, disinfectants and photovoltaics processing.
- Resins – Asst. Prof. Chris Hansen of Mechanical Engineering will investigate safe alternative chemistries to replace styrene monomer used to manufacture unsaturated polyester resins found in products such as bowling balls and wind turbines. Styrene is the most used toxic chemical in Massachusetts.
- Nail polish – Asst. Prof. Emmanuelle Reynaud of Mechanical Engineering andAssoc. Prof. Daniel Schmidt of Plastics Engineering will develop an alternative to nail polish made from safer thiol-ene chemistry and compare the performance to nail polish that contains toxics such as toluene, formaldehyde and phthalates. They will also work with state and federal organizations to promote safer nail salons
- Disinfection – Asst. Prof. Nancy Goodyear of Clinical Laboratories and Nutritional Sciences will conduct performance testing of safer disinfection formulations and test meters that detect residual organisms. This work will be done in collaboration with UMass Lowell facilities and the Montachusett Opportunity Council
- Photovoltaics – Asst. Prof. Meg Sobkowicz-Kline of Plastics Engineering will study safer processes for manufacturing conducting polymers that are used in many applications including organic photovoltaics and thin film transistors.
Read more: TURI Awards $78K in Academic Grants.
Every year we provide seed funding to initiate research that will lead to new opportunities for companies to reduce their use of toxic chemicals. Since its inception in 1992 this program has provided over $1,300,000 in funding to UMass researchers, supporting more than 80 graduate and doctoral level students. The seed funding helps researchers gain additional funding to find safer alternatives. For example, Assoc. Prof. Zhiyong Gu and an interdisciplinary team received $460K from the National Science Foundation to develop lead-free soldering for the microelectronics and semiconductor industry.
The research has contributed to industry adoption of toxics use reduction, has resulted in patents and commercial products, and has contributed to TURI's goal of reducing the use of toxic chemicals to promote safer worker and environmental health.