New Materials, Brighter Future

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Sergiy Minko, the Georgia Power Professor of Fiber and Polymer Science, is one of many faculty members across campus who are creating materials that have the potential to revolutionize the textiles industry.

The University of Georgia will establish a New Materials Innovation Center that will help revitalize manufacturing in Georgia and beyond.

UGA was one of just 35 organizations selected from a pool of more than 200 applicants to receive funding through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies program. Our federal award of nearly $500,000 will be matched by the University to create the new center, which will facilitate the design and large-scale testing of new materials such as advanced textiles, plastics and coating technologies.

In addition to housing advanced equipment for on-campus researchers, local entrepreneurs and startups, the New Materials Innovation Center will include meeting rooms, business offices and a lecture hall. To help move products toward commercial success more quickly, UGA's Innovation Gateway and Idea Accelerator will offer instruction on topics ranging from marketing to legal issues.

The New Materials Innovation Center comes at a time when UGA is making significant advances in materials science. Our faculty members have invented an anti-microbial treatment that renders medical linens and other fabrics germ-free, developed an inexpensive way to manufacture extraordinarily thin nanofibers and developed a new, environmentally friendly textile dying technology, to name just a few examples.

In addition, we joined a national public-private consortium known as the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America, which is funded by a $75 million federal commitment and cost share matches totaling $317 million. UGA will receive at least $5 million over five years, with an additional investment of state matching funds.

Our participation in the AFFOA partnership and the establishment of the New Materials Innovation Center underscore this institution’s commitment to working with government, business and industry to foster economic growth. New materials hold tremendous promise for the future, with new business and jobs spurred by new products that improve health and quality of life.