Polymers and Advanced Functional Materials

The University of Akron


University of Akron


The University of Akron (UA) plays a major role in producing the intellectual capital and innovation that fuels the growth of the region's polymer industry. In the 1970s and 1980s, with the decline of the rubber industry, UA helped transform Akron's industrial base into a diversified and globally competitive leader in polymers and other advanced materials. Such materials affect many fields including the regionally significant manufacturing, medical devices and technology, air filtration, advanced energy, emerging green technologies, and microelectronic and optical devices. UA's historical focus on "soft matter science and engineering" is now complemented by expertise in other materials systems. Exemplary academic programs within the Center of Excellence in Polymers and Advanced Functional Materials include:

  • College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering
  • Chemical sciences, including chemistry, physics, biology and integrated bioscience
  • Chemical and biomolecular engineering
  • Biomedical engineering

Emerging programs include:

  • The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron
  • The City of Akron's Biomedical Corridor
  • UA's programs in health and elder law

Driving Economic Advancement

The Center of Excellence works closely with existing polymer industry partners and is an attraction for relocating business and a driver of commerce for current regional businesses. The Center focuses on technology transfers to start-up companies by utilizing the innovations developed in the Center and creating new and high quality jobs.


  • UA deemed "Best in Class" for productivity in research commercialization, according to studies by the Ohio Board of Regents, Association of University Technology Managers, Milken Institute and Innovation Associates/ National Science Foundation
  • Home to American Chemical Society Rubber Division, National Polymer Innovation Center, Akron Global Polymer Academy and Akron Polymer Training Center
  • Largest, oldest, and most active polymer program in the world with two members of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, two fellows of the Association for the Advancement of Science, five fellows of the American Physical Society, two fellows of the Society of Plastic Engineering, six senior editors, editors and associate editors in the most prestigious international polymer journals
  • Among top 20 percent of producers of chemical science Ph.D.s in the nation and number one in Ohio
  • Number one for publications in polymer science and engineering field in the U.S. Largest number of publications (1,503) in the area of chemical science and engineering for the entire University System of Ohio for 2002-2006


  • $200 million in annual university-sponsored research expenditures (now $48 million)
  • Be among the top 10 percent in U.S. annual Ph.D. production in the chemical sciences


  • Increase of 40 percent in sponsored research expenditures each year
  • Increased student enrollment by 20 percent
  • Establishment of ABIA as leader of biomaterials research in Ohio
  • Establishment of renewable energy materials research cluster in 2012
  • Establishment of communication materials including microelectronics and optics research cluster in 2014
  • Establishment of environment materials cluster in 2015