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Overview of the Akron Functional Materials Center (AMFC)

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 School 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.


The current themes associated with the AFMC clusters are: (A) Biomaterials, (B) Coatings and adhesives, (C) 3D printing, (D) Polymer assembly, and (E) Energy and electronics. Each theme has two coordinators that assist with project management. A funded project will have clear deliverables and past performance will be a consideration in which projects are selected to move forward. The industrial membership will help to define the scope and vision for each theme annually.

Biomaterials Coatings & Adhesives 3D Printing & Advanced Manufacturing Polymer Assembly Energy & Electronics

Organization and AFMC Governance

The key to success is active engagement with industry partners that facilitates ensuring value for AFMC membership investment. The vision and direction for the AFMC are the responsibility of the director and deputy director with significant input from the member companies.


Dr. Bryan Vogt
Department of Polymer Engineering

Deputy Director:

Dr. Yu Zhu
Assistant Professor
Department of Polymer Science

The director and deputy director will provide the primary contact for AFMC members and potential members to facilitate addressing their needs through identification of faculty, equipment and other resources that are present at The University of Akron. They will also lead the through technical advisory committee (TAC). The TAC is composed of the director, deputy director, one representative from each member institution and the theme leaders. The research directions of the center will be determined through technical advisory committee (TAC).

There will be an annual call for proposals from the faculty involved with the AFMC. These proposals will be limited to 2 pages and require at least 2 faculty to be involved to maximize the faculty interactions with member companies in areas of interest. Funding from the AFMC will be limited to student support and materials/supplies for the project. These projects may be leveraged by Akron Masters Program (AMP) students that are advised by the proposers. Funding availability to each theme will be dependent on the industrial interest. Students that are involved with these projects will be required to present at the AFMC annual meeting in the subsequent year and be available to meet with representative from member companies during the AFMC meeting.

Membership Benefits

  • Representation on the Technical Advancement Committee (TAC) to influence the direction of research for the cluster
  • Members will have access to over 30 faculty and over 350 students focused on polymers and related technologies
  • Attendance fee for annual meeting for up to 6 representatives
  • If arranged in advance, the director or deputy director will individually during the annual meeting to facilitate interactions with faculty towards addressing member needs in areas lying outside of the general consortia
  • Facilitation of student interviews by member companies with member-only space in NPIC with at least 2 weeks notice
  • Subsidized rates on select testing and training
  • Facilitate identification of appropriate students for Community and Industrial Graduate Assistantships
  • Opportunity to network with member companies in their technical space and supply chain


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