Plastics are now ubiquitous in our lives, and the systems within our modern society could not function without these light weight, easily formable, strong, cheap, durable, and readily available materials. However, our success at engineering such useful materials has created a systemic problem, with more than 10 million tonnes of plastic leaking into the global environment annually.

Urgent change is needed to address this ‘plastic crisis’, and biodegradable bioplastics, along with their natural fibre composites, will play a pivotal role in this transition to a more sustainable plastics economy. Already, we are witnessing unprecedented growth in the global bioplastics industry – the projected annual growth to 2030 is 16-30%, leading to an estimated global market value of US$40B.

As the world transitions towards the integration of bioplastics into a more sustainable plastics economy, there is a real opportunity for Australia to transform our existing plastics industry. Australia is uniquely positioned to become a global leader in the emerging bioplastic and biocomposite industry this decade, supported by our abundance of the raw natural materials needed for their manufacture.

The ARC Training Centre for Bioplastics and Biocomposites will capitalise on Australia’s abundant natural bioresources to drive advances in technology for the development of bioplastic and biocomposite products for the new bioeconomy.

Acknowledgement of Country

The ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Bioplastics and Biocomposites acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past, present and emerging. We recognise their valuable contributions to Australian and global society.

Commitment to diversity

The ARC Training Centre for Bioplastics and Biocomposites recognises and values the diversity of its members and acknowledges that equity and inclusivity enable creativity and innovation. It is committed to developing an environment that is free from discrimination, that is inclusive, and provides equal opportunity of access, participation and advancement.

Who we are

The ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Bioplastics and Biocomposites is funded by the Australian Government through the Industrial Transformation Research Program (ITRP) for Training Centres (ITTC). The Centre commenced in 2022 and is funded for 5 years. Find out more about this ARC funding scheme here

Headquartered within the School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane, the Centre is a collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and industry partners to establish South-East Queensland as a hub for world-leading research in bioplastics and biocomposites

Our team is truly transdisciplinary, covering chemical and materials engineering, polymer chemistry, environmental science, social science, policy and business.

We are recognised as national and global leaders in bioresource development, bioplastic and biocomposite manufacture and processing, sustainability in supply chain management, environmental and behavioural economics, and environmental impact assessment.

We have a critical focus on providing training and development opportunities for PhD and early career researchers. Centre PhD students will each have the opportunity for a substantial industry placement.  (link to training page)

Find out more about our Research

Find out more about Our People

Find out more about Opportunities to study, work, partner or visit us

At our first face to face meeting we asked ourselves what kind of Centre we wanted to be part of – this is what we came up with.

Our Vision

Our vision is to perform leading edge research with a holistic focus and to develop industry-ready specialists to underpin Australia’s transition to a globally significant bioplastics and biocomposites industry.

Our Objectives

  1. Deliver advances in technology for the development of bioplastic and biocomposite products for the new bioeconomy
  2. Train a cohort of industry ready researchers, laying the foundations for accelerated growth in Australia’s bioplastics and biocomposites industry
  3. Establish linkages between leading research groups and partner organisations to strengthen the capabilities of Australian industry to service rapidly growing local and international markets in bio-derived and biodegradable products

Our Partners

Our industry partners have a sustained track-record in research and innovation and substantial global reach. Their complimentary expertise spans the entire value chain, including natural resource development (Council of City of Gold Coast), (bio)product development and distribution (Plantic Technologies, Kimberly-Clark, Minderoo) and end-of-life management/waste transformation (Qld Gov, Kimberly-Clark, Minderoo). The involvement of the Australian Packaging Covenant (APCO), with more than 2000 members, facilitates broad dissemination of the project outcomes as well as wider industry input into Centre research and strategy. The participation of the Queensland State Government ensures focus on the social and policy dimensions

Governance

What is a Training Centre?

Solving problems that hold back productivity and growth can also be achieved by training emerging researchers within the Industrial Transformation Priorities. ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres (ITRP ITTC) are 4 to 5 year initiatives where students and postdoctoral fellows pursue industry-focused research, generating key human capacity for Australia. Doctoral and postdoctoral researchers build industry-facing skills and experience in a Training Centre, along with driving applied research outcomes directly relevant to the industry sector. Find out more here