About Us


The mission of the NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) is to transform how plastics are made, unmade, and remade through innovative research, engaging education, and diverse partnerships that together foster environmental stewardship. CSP participants aim to design, prepare, and implement polymers derived from renewable resources for a wide range of advanced applications, and to promote future economic development, energy efficiency, and environmental sustainability in the emergent area of biobased products.


The NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers pursues basic polymer science research aimed at developing new, practical chemistries, polymers, processes, and technologies that embrace sustainability. We carry out our research stressing the principles of green chemistry to help protect the environment and ensure that future generations will be able to meet their societal needs.


The NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers is committed to promoting and supporting diversity in all of its forms. Collaborations formed among people with varied views, perspectives, and backgrounds enhance the experiences of center participants and also form the foundation for creative and innovative solutions to grand challenges in the field. The CSP embraces an atmosphere of mutual respect that is free from prejudice and intolerance and works to increase the engagement of individuals from groups underrepresented in the STEM fields.


The challenge of sustainability is to meet human needs while preserving the earth’s life support systemsand the implementation of a create without destroying philosophy has reached paramount importance in national and global planning. Sustainable polymers or green materials can be durable and degradable, can be used in applications from adhesives to packaging to building materials, and can be produced efficiently and economically with low environmental impact. Comparatively, nearly all synthetic chemicals and materials are derived from crude oil. To wean ourselves from such petroleocentric economics, technology, and products, we must develop alternatives based on renewable resources as a means toward a sustainable future. While ubiquitous materials such as polyethylene and polystyrene are tremendously useful, non-renewable feedstocks render production of these materials unsustainable.

Sustainable polymers are the materials of tomorrow.


“Our goal is to transform the way plastics are made and unmade.” — Marc Hillmyer, CSP Director

NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers Director Marc Hillmyer, Senior Investigators Chris Cramer, Jane Wissinger, and Kechun Zhang, and Postdoctoral Researcher Debbie Schneiderman explain CSP research in this video from National Science Foundation’s Science Nation.


University of Minnesota
University of Chicago
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cornell unversity logo
Northwestern University


The CSP creates strong industrial partnerships through the Industrial Advisory Board, which provides the center with input on project directions and relevant industry trends. Their input and expertise are critical as we move basic research to the marketplace.
arkema logo
Avery Dennison logo
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H. B. Fuller Company Foundation
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The CSP is always looking for opportunities to engage with industry to ensure our research remains relevant, translational, and innovative. Interested in learning more about our industrial partnerships and the Industrial Advisory Board?
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