Bradford, UK - The University of Bradford opened a new engineering laboratory, the Centre for Micro & Nano Moulding 3 July during an international conference on polymer process engineering. The university said the £2.2-million ($4.4-million) development adds to the world-class Polymer Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) facilities already at Bradford. Funding for the laboratory came from the UK's Higher Education Funding Council for England. Its facilities have been funded by regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, the UK's Department for Trade and Industry and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The opening happened during the eleventh biennial Polymer Process Engineering conference, at the University of Bradford's Norcroft Centre, 3 - 4 July 2007. "This state of the art development makes Bradford the premier centre for polymer process engineering (PPE) research in the world," claimed Professor Phil Coates, pro-vice-vhancellor for Research at the University of Bradford, and director of the Polymer IRC. "PPE is, in my view, a key bridge between industry and academics, who need to link together more readily,' said Coates, adding that, while the academic side of UK polymer engineering has been maintained, the industrial side "has suffered some decline."At Bradford we are currently working with over 70 companies, clearly putting into practise our ethos of Making Knowledge Work," Coates said, in a university statement. The centre, managed by Dr Ben Whiteside, currently has six staff covering ultra-small-scale precision moulding and compounding of polymers, nanocomposites and biomedical materials. It complements the larger-scale processing facilities in the IRC laboratory. Typical products include medical components, telecommunications and optical products, the statement said. epw "