The overarching goals of the Akron Functional Materials Center (AFMC) are to drive polymer innovations and to provide access/impact/value to partners through collaborative engagement. The AFMC is an initiative of The University of Akron designed to facilitate value-add engagement with industrial partners with the ultimate objective to accelerate research discoveries towards commercialization through projects in theme cluster areas. These themes that address critical industry needs revolve around faculty strengths in the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at the University of Akron. The selection of the themes will be industry-driven with themes appearing and setting as the center evolves The success of the AFMC is driven by the engaged partnership between faculty and the member companies to deliver pre-competitive knowledge, development of new testing protocols and to demonstrate feasibility of combined characterization protocols that can be modified to address critical unaddressed problems by the partners. The AFMC provides a compelling partnership that that provides a value-add to industry partners and a facile pathway for faculty to engage with industry with a small investment. The key to success of the AFMC is active engagement with industry partners. To this end, the member companies will have (i) direct input on the research directions funded through the AFMC, (ii) participation and engagement with faculty during the annual AFMC meeting, and (iii) opportunity to hear and see new capabilities/toolsets from synthesis to processing to characterization.