Internationally recognised as a leader in electromaterials research, the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI) is situated at the state-of-the art Australian Institute for Innovative Materials (AIIM) facility at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus. Established in 1990 by Director Professor Gordon Wallace, IPRI is a key research strength at the UOW.
IPRI draws together researchers from a range of disciplines, including biologists, clinicians, chemists, physicists and engineers. IPRI competencies lie in the design and synthesis of advanced materials. IPRI is renowned for expertise in the group of multifunctional, stimuli-responsive materials – including organic conducting polymers and nanostructured carbons; used in applications for Energy and Health.
IPRI has been the lead node of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) since 2004. The Federal Government funded ACES with over $44 million (2004-2020) to translate materials science knowledge into practical, game-changing devices that will have a significant impact in the areas of diagnostics, energy, health and soft robotics. IPRI Staff have been key to the successful development and implementation of the two ARC funded Centres of Excellence, with ARC funding for the current Centre finishing mid-2021 and all funded operations to be completed by end 2021. This has necessitated the parallel development of additive fabrication tools, in partnership with the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF).
IPRI has also served as the headquarters for the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) Materials Node over the last 12 years and has recently established the Translational Research Initiative for Cellular Engineering and Printing (TRICEP). As a consequence, IPRI is extraordinarily well-positioned to build on its global reputation for discoveries in materials science and the implementation of that knowledge in both energy and health to create significantly more value for the university, given the retention of its highly talented researchers.
IPRI also has an established presence at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne. As a result of this presence, IPRI and ANFF members as well as ACES collaborators, were at the forefront in developing the 3D bioprinting revolution within BioFab3D@ACMD (Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery). This facility, officially opened 6 August 2016 and is Australia's first robotics and biomedical engineering centre, embedded within a hospital.