The MII Center for Performance Packaging at Virginia Tech is committed to tackling the packaging industry in a systems-approach manner. Packaging has consistently grown into the third largest market industry in the world occupying $400B globally. Packaging is best described as a coordinated system of preparing goods for transportation, distribution, storage, retailing and use of the goods. It is a complex, dynamic, scientific, artistic, and controversial business function, which in its most fundamental form contains, protects/preserves, transports, and informs/sells. Fundamental science and engineering of membranes to tailored the transport of gases, ions, and chemical species lies at the heart of packaging.
Virginia Tech’s location is central to the nation’s “packaging corridor” stretching from Northern Virginia through Atlanta. Across this footprint are several of the world’s premier packaging solutions companies from Mars and WestRock in Virginia, Sealed Air in Charlotte, to Coca-Cola and Printpack in Atlanta. Collectively, packaging is forecasted to be a $1 trillion business by 2020 with Virginia Tech at its geographic epicenter. Additionally, at the present time, Virginia Tech is one of the only 10 research universities in the United States to offer a degree in packaging – pretty small company.
CP2S is spearheaded by world renowned polymer chemist Dr. Timothy E. Long. Long directs Virginia Tech’s acclaimed Macromolecules and Innovation Institute (MII) – a polymer science institution with a 30-year track record of excellence. Dr. Long has combined the likes of Virginia Tech’s esteemed and nationally ranked programs in the College of Engineering, College of Natural Resources, Food Science and Technology and Architecture programs to develop a fundamentally interdisciplinary center which revolves around the field of packaging. CP2S takes a systems and materials approach to packaging. With individual substituents at the atomic scale specifically designed to mediate more efficient and less invasive packaging. This approach then extends into modeling packaging in regards to their specific end-product, consumer use. With that in mind the Center for Performance Packaging exists to:
- Discover and translate solutions for current and future challenges at the nexus of materials and food, water, and energy.
- Serve as a catalyst for industry engagement capable of converting unmatched value into accelerated institutional advancement.
- Facilitate a cross field, interdisciplinary materials-based context for leading edge intelligent packaging education, research, and innovation.
- Foster an attitude of collaboration within the Center and across the campus that fosters outreach to the state, region, nation and the world.
- Serve as a campus-based research community combining nationally preeminent programs in chemistry, material science, food science, architecture, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and packaging.
- Function as a “one-stop-shop” for industry-centric packaging solutions with emphasis on food, medical, automotive, aerospace, and energy.
- Become a second-to-none facilities infrastructure integrating aligned assets from across the university.
As technological challenges emerge at the nexus of food, energy, and water systems, our graduates must be trained at this intersection of science, engineering, and sustainability.