Industry and Academic Collaboration on Display at Photopolymerization Event

Set against the scenic backdrop of Estes Park, Colorado, Photopolymerization: Past, Present and Future was a one-and-a-half day demonstration of the productivity of academic-industrial partnerships to produce new technology that is relevant in the commercial sphere. The symposium, with over 90 attendees, was a unique open venue for discussion of research on the fundamentals and applications of photopolymerizations developed in the Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) and a forum to discuss the current challenges and future directions of the field.

The symposium, held Oct. 6-7, focused on the transformative nature of photopolymerization as one of the most rapidly expanding technologies for materials production and research innovation. It also highlighted the role of the Photopolymerization IUCRC, located at the University of Iowa and University of Colorado, in facilitating many recent advances. Lectures included discussions of the evolution of photopolymerization over the past few decades and illustrated innovations in the field, all while looking forward to new directions. Emerging applications in dental materials, electronic/optical materials, “click” chemistry, metamaterials, cell culture platforms and 3D printing were discussed.

Industrial (e.g. 3M, Heraeus Noblelight, DuPont, IGM Resins, Sartomer, Colorado Photopolymer Solutions, Radtech, DSM), governmental (Air Force Research Labs) and academic (University of Colorado, University of Iowa and University of Texas) perspectives were represented, including many speakers who are alumni of the IUCRC center. A vibrant session of 25 posters covered the gamut of photopolymerization research and development. From the extensive discussions throughout the conference, it was clear that the future is bright for the field, and that the IUCRC will continue to play a prominent role in innovation and discovery.

The symposium was held in celebration of 15 years of groundbreaking fundamental and applied research through the IUCRC. Interestingly, the genesis of the IUCRC also was in Estes Park, where Professors Christopher Bowman and Alec Scranton invited representatives of many of the key companies in the field to discuss opportunities for industrial/academic collaborations. A center was envisioned in which universities were free to pursue fundamental research, but with direct input from industrial participants to advance the use of photopolymerization in existing and emerging fields. From these discussions, the IUCRC was founded in 2000 at the University of Colorado and the University of Iowa to create an environment for world class academic research in the photopolymerization field with industrial input, perspective and oversight.

Photopolymerization Fundamentals 2017 will be held Sept. 17-20 in Boulder, Colorado. Preliminary event information can be found at Abstracts still are accepted through February 2017 for those wishing to present.