6 June 2024

Grants to Support Knowledge Exchange - Ben Sanders

Ben Sanders, 2024 Grant to Support Knowledge Exchange recipient shares his experience on the process

I would first like to express my gratitude to IOM3 for providing funding that contributed toward my attendance at 'Polymers 2024: Polymers for a safe and sustainable future', which was held in Athens. Without their generous financial support, my extremely rewarding trip to Greece would not have been possible.

Polymers 2024 was a fantastic conference – the event focussed on the advancements and future directions of the polymer industry in order to ensure a safe and sustainable future. Given the climate crisis it was great to see so much interesting research going on within the field of polymer sustainability. The conference hosted several distinguished speakers and featured a diverse array of sessions covering critical topics such as:

  • The synthesis of biobased polymers

  • Advances in biodegradable and recyclable polymers

  • Innovations in polymer composites and nanotechnology.

  • Biodegradable polymers in medical and environmental applications.

The conference also gave me the opportunity to present some of my PhD work in a poster format. The poster session provided a valuable platform to discuss the findings of my work with fellow researchers and receive constructive feedback. As I am aiming to publish this work in an academic journal, it was extremely useful to discuss the complex experimental framework with a wider audience that didn’t necessarily have a broad understanding of the topic area. Hopefully, I will now be able to make the work more suitable for publication, allowing it to achieve a greater impact within the polymer science community.

Furthermore, conference organisers arranged some fantastic entertainment highlighting Greek culture, such as an evening of traditional Greek dancing, accompanied by authentic Greek food and drinks. This presented an excellent informal setting to network with fellow attendees. As a I am nearing the end of my PhD, the chats I had with other researchers and industry leaders were very beneficial for my future career, whether that be within academia or industry. Finally, throughout the week I also had the opportunity to immerse myself in the city of Athens which was another enjoyable dimension to the conference. As you can see in a couple of my photos, Athens and the surrounding area is a very beautiful part of the world!