SCI Fire and Materials Group – Bursary Proposal



SCI (Society of Chemical Industry) is sponsoring 10 bursaries, each worth £200 to attend FRPM17. In addition, each bursary will be accompanied by free SCI membership for 1 year (worth £25 for a PhD student or £90 for a Postdoctoral researcher). Early career researchers working in industry or a research organisation may also apply (provided they are within 5 years of award of their PhD).

To be eligible, each candidate must fulfil the following criteria:

  • To have registered on the FRPM17 website by midnight on the 17th May 2017. [This may be cancelled later should the applicant be unsuccessful and not be able to attend]
  • To have already submitted an abstract for a poster or still be able to submit an abstract by the deadline below via the web-site and by email (see below). [Note that PhD students and Postdoctoral researchers who have already submitted an abstract may review them and resubmit them if they wish].
  • Address the following questions in not more than a total of 400 words:
    1. Why do you wish to attend FRPM17?
    2. What do you hope to gain by attending the conference?
    3. How do you think that attending FRPM17 will benefit your research career?
  • Submit your application to Professor Richard Horrocks: by midnight 1st May 2017.


Successful candidates will be notified during late May and still be eligible for the full early bird registration rate less £200.

Recipients will be asked to agree to attend or participate in (eg via Skype if located outside the UK) a future SCI Fire and Materials Group event (late 2017, early 2018) in conjunction with the SCI Materials Group Early Career Forum.

Additional (limited) travel/accommodation support will be available to attend the SCI event for students located in the UK and nearby mainland Europe.

New Research Into Flame-Resistant Polyurethane Foams


It’s hit the news recently that a graduate student at Pittsburgh State University is completing an amazing research project into making everyday materials increasingly safe and more environmentally friendly. Charith Ranaweera, currently in the process of finishing his Masters in PSU’s polymer chemistry program, is working to create flame-resistant polyurethane foams using discarded orange peels.

The starting chemicals for polyurethane and many other polymers are not renewable as they are obtained from petrochemicals. In his research, Ranaweera began by using the limonene to synthesize a bio-polyol that could be substituted for the petrochemicals normally used to produce polyurethane. He then incorporated a compound that contained phosphorous to increase the fire retardant properties of the product. “We showed that polyurethane foam prepared from our bio-polyol can be used for thermal insulation and packaging with the additional benefit of fire safety,” Ranaweera said.[1]

Here at FRPM we love hearing the latest development stories about how researchers are making the polymers safer and how researchers are becoming increasingly environmentally friendly. At FRPM 2017, we will hear from some of the leading experts in the field who will showcase and give insights into the latest developments in the industry.

This year’s conference will be taking place at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, on July 3rd. We’re really excited because not only is the content set to be incredible, The Bridgewater Hall is Manchester’s international concert venue, built to give the best possible space for acoustics. So, location-wise it is perfect too! The Hall hosts over 250 performances a year, and is the home to three resident orchestras: the Hallé, the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata.

Situated in the heart of the city, the Hall is surrounded by a spectacular range of unique architectural styles, making Manchester’s skyline a sight to behold. Local attractions near the Hall include the gothic splendour of Manchester’s Town Hall, where we plan to host the conference dinner, the Central Library, and the Manchester Cathedral – an essential visit in the city with an impressive interior displaying the best late medieval woodwork in the North.

But, in comparison to the actual event, that’s not even the most interesting part! With invited speakers such as Dr. Richard E Lyon from the Federal Aviation Administration, Prof Carl-Eric Wilem – Head of Laboratory at Abo Akademi in Finland, Dr Stanislav Stoliard from the Fire Protection Engineering Department and Prof. Stuart Harrad (of Environmental Chemistry) from University of Birmingham, the event is shaping up to be most intriguing and a perfect chance to network in the community. To see the full list of invited speakers, please click here.

If you think this all sounds like an opportunity not to be missed, remember to register your attendance before March 31st to take full advantage of our Early Bird offer.