When Industry Challenges Science

by | May 25, 2018

Polymer International is keen to bring industry and academia one step closer and create a communication channel through a new type of article: ‘Challenges to Industry’.

Polymer International is keen to bring industry and academia one step closer and create a communication channel through a new type of article: ‘Challenges to Industry’. This article was introduced to our readers last year as a publishing platform, to communicate both the fundamental research conducted in academia as well as the more application-oriented research in industry, in view of the development of salient novel materials1. Due to the journal’s connection to the industry through the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI)2, strong links exist between academia and industry which give the journal an “industrial touch”1.

In recent years, the links between academia and industry have been gaining strength. With universities actively seeking commercial partners as they begin to realize they have a treasure trove of underutilized intellectual property, that can only be monetized by collaboration with a commercial entity3. Funding institutions have begun requesting that grant submissions include commercial partnerships, as they realize the importance of collaboration between both parties3. Therefore, there is a strong need for the industry to highlight the scientific challenges it faces, but this is also required from academia in order to highlight the commercial challenges it faces too.

In the first ‘Challenges to Industry’ article published in the latest issue of Polymer International, by Jeremy J. Harris et. al. from Secant Group LLC, the most important challenges they face in the biomaterials and medical device industry are highlighted. As the authors mention, the technical need within the medical device industry is a fundamental understanding of new biomaterials with respect to their mechanobiologic properties3. This level of study is often lacking in a commercial setting, and at the same time, the academic mindset is not aligned with the commercial expectations and needs3. This combination of technical diligence found within an academic institution and the business perspective of a commercial entity is the foundation for translational science, where industry attempts to translate and convert academic research into a viable commercial product3.

The work at Secant Group LLC, with respect to poly(glycerol sebacate) (PGS): a material that has shown significant promise in the field of biomedical engineering, is one example of the progress being made in translational science. The commercialization of PGS is an illustrative example of placing the idea of translational science into action. Commercial scale production is a major consideration and one that is often overlooked on the academic level. The most published polymerisations are in the range of 50-200 grams, and, while these amounts are reasonable for the academic lab, they pale in comparison to what is needed for commercial production. But, the translational science mentality is not just limited to academic or commercial partner relationships, it can also provide multiple ways for technology to take the leap to commercial innovation3.

To read more, please click here.

To submit your own ‘Challenges to Industry’ article, please click here.


  1. Kurt E. Geckeler, Challenges at the Interface Between Academia and Industry, Polym Int 2017, 66, 5-6.
  2. ww.soci.org
  3. Jeremy H. Harris et. al., Commercial Challenges in Developing Biomaterials for Medical Device Development, Polym Int; DOI 10.1002/pi.5590.

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