Bridge the academic/industrial divide in the formulated products and soft materials space through the creation of a center that supports academic-industrial interaction
Shampoos, drilling muds, paints, vaccines, and yogurts represent formulated materials: products that contain many ingredients, perform many functions, face many demands, and are subject to many constraints. These multifunctional materials are produced and exploited across a wide range of industries: from consumer products, foods, oil & gas production and development, pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, agriculture, biotechnology and biomaterials, household and construction materials. However, despite the scientific commonalities across applications, product design often advances in a conservative, ‘gradient search’ fashion, and advances in one industry may be highly relevant to others, yet go unnoticed.
The long-term goal of this project is to bridge the academic/industrial divide in the formulated products and soft materials space; and to therefore establish UCSB as a central nexus of expertise, interaction, and inspiration in this realm. Ultimately, the PI's envision a center that supports a variety of activities to promote such interactions, including: (i) technical short-courses, designed to train technical professionals and new employees in relevant industries alongside Ph.D. students and postdocs, in the area of soft materials and formulated product design; (ii) promoting technical exchanges and internships, for Ph.D. students in technical companies or technical professionals in UCSB laboratories; (iii) nurturing these connections to connect industrial needs with academic expertise, and thus generating funding for research support as well as compelling research projects of direct interest to industry and technology.