Kerry Kirwan

Kerry is an Associate Professor at Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick. He is the Strategic Director of the new £10m Industrial Doctorate Centre and Deputy Head of the Materials and Manufacturing Theme Group within WMG. He is a specialist in sustainable materials, polymer processing and automotive applications, having graduated from Warwick’s Engineering Doctorate (EngD) programme in 2003, specialising in innovative materials for automotive glazing. He has considerable experience in both injection moulding and novel utilisation of polymers and has published extensively in these areas and secured a number of patents.

Kerry has more recently specialised in environmentally friendly materials for application within numerous industries, most recently being awarded a £1.3m WIMRC grant for ‘Wealth out of Waste’, a highly multidisciplinary programme aiming to develop a truly novel bioreactor system that utilises waste agricultural products and biological systems to create high value products such as pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, plastics etc. He has also received a £1m Challenging Engineering grant from EPSRC for his Sustainable Materials – A Global Challenge programme. This is an area of exciting research challenges, strong user demand responding to increasingly stringent EU legislation for end-of-life disposal, opportunity to help farmers to access higher added value markets and environmental necessity. Kerry currently supervises three EngD students in the field of advanced materials and manufacturing and is involved in business development of novel processes for high volume applications.

Public engagement in science activities has become a focus, with Kerry being recognised for the environmentally friendly racing car ‘EcoOne’ and his biodegradable ‘Sunflower Phone’ that allows mobile phone users to grow plants from their discarded mobile phone cases through the encapsulation of a small seed in a visible window and subsequently prompting them to dispose of the electronics in a responsible manner.

As Principle Investigator on the WorldF3rst Formula 3 racing concept, Kerry’s group demonstrated that ‘green is sexy’ by delivering a fully functional F3 racing car built almost entirely from waste and recycled materials and fuelled by biodiesel derived from waste food products such as chocolate, beef fat and residues from the cheese industry. This car was named in Time Magazine’s Top 50 Global Inventions of 2009 and was showcased at various industry and academic events such as Goodwood Festival of Speed, the British and European Grand Prix’s and MIT’s Global Energy Conference. The F3 racing car has appeared on many UK television programmes, international TV channels, radio and printed publications. As a result of this project Kerry was awarded the Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award by the British Science Association in 2009.

Kerry Kirwan