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University of Sussex set to receive £2m nanomaterial funding boost

The funding will aid in developing green RFID tech to stop 11bn clothes labels going to landfill or being incinerated each year.

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July 1 2021
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Advanced Material Development Ltd (AMD) announced it is set to add £2 million to the University of Sussex Materials Physics Group research budget. The additional money will fund five new three-year research posts focused on developing nanomaterial technologies for environmentally sustainable uses.

One such example, is the technology that aims to stop the 11 billion clothing tags currently sent to landfill and incinerators each year. With the support of AMD and its partners, Marks and Spencer, the Sussex research team will take the next step in developing and commercialising an eco-friendly radio frequency identification tag that is wholly recyclable. 

The research group is led by Professor Alan Dalton, who puts particular emphasis on using nanomaterial inks in environmentally sustainable designs. AMD has agreed with Marks and Spencer to replace their radio frequency identification (RFID) clothing tags with a metal-free graphene conductive ink invented by the Sussex team. Instead of the current plastic and metal-based tags, the new invention sees the carbon-based RFID antenna printed onto recyclable paper, and used on the products. The items can then be scanned and tracked throughout the supply chain, from creation to sale.  

“We’re on the cusp of taking a number of our inventions out of the lab and to market, and this significant new boost from AMD means we can recruit the team we need to make the next step. The company has exciting collaborations with global companies such as Marks and Spencer and Honeywell, with many others lined up. The potential applications for nanomaterial inks are boundless,” said Prof. Alan Dalton leader of the Materials Physics Group within the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex and co-founder of AMD. 

“The university’s burgeoning partnership with AMD has been critical to driving our ground-breaking research to market in a fast, agile and cost-effective way. The partnership directly supports new discovery in our labs and has shared it with commercial clients at phenomenal speed compared to the more conventional routes to market available for university-based research. If all universities had partnerships like this, the economic and social benefits of their research base would be accelerated exponentially,” said Dr. Sue Baxter, Director of Innovation and Business Partnerships at the University of Sussex.

“We have been working with the University of Sussex since mid-2018 under a Research Framework Agreement which governs how an SME can work with such a large academic organisation. The partnership has enjoyed huge successes as we have moved forward, both from engagement with such a fantastic team of researchers within Professor Dalton’s team but also with the continuing positive support received from the Sussex Innovations and Business team,” commented John Lee, Chief Executive Officer of AMD.  



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