AREC-USA at Penn State

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College (Penn State Behrend) is the leader of AREC-USA. AREC-USA is directed by Dr. Alicyn Rhoades, associate professor of engineering, plastics engineering technology, Behrend.

We are extremely pleased to welcome the Pennsylvania State University’s partner, the Advanced Resource Efficiency Center (AREC-USA) with the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom.  Professors Lenny Koh and Ian Reaney have visited and engaged with some of our faculty over the last few years.  Earlier this summer, through the Global Programs, MRI, IEE, and Penn State Behrend began formalizing this relationship.

This will tremendously aid the consideration of major resources, ranging from advanced materials manufacturing, energy, mining, and agritech supply chains.  Through this partnership, we aim to address and reengineer future research and business practice by integrating supply chain resource efficiency and sustainability into strategic decision making in government, industry, and education.  This aligns extremely well with a number of the Penn State strategic missions, including stewarding our planet’s resources.

- Clive Randall, Director
The Materials Research Institute

Mission & Vision

The Advanced Research Efficiency Centre - USA (AREC-USA) is designed to promote collaborations between industry and universities with the goal to provide a platform that is easy to access policy makers in order to meet the challenges of sustainability across supply chains.  The AREC-USA is built upon an existing partnership between Penn State University and the University of Sheffield, which is the premier, productive hub of the life cycle analysis (LCA).  The AREC centralized at the University of Sheffield provides insight and industrial sustainable research in both Europe and China.  AREC-USA program incorporates the Institute of Energy and Environment (IEE), Materials Research Institute (MRI), and Penn State Behrend’s Plastics Engineering Laboratory, all of which have committed funds to accelerate this initiate and partnership.

AREC-USA supports the development of resource sustainable supply chains by proposing new ways of reducing risk for partners in overcoming the challenges of resource availability. Through AREC-USA, Small & Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) can join in collaboration with larger industrial partners and benefit from cutting edge academic research and skills. This provides the mechanism for achieving the aims of the US Government and US policy, in supporting an environment in which the millions of US-based SMEs can flourish with their supply chains in the US and internationally.

AREC-USA has the infrastructure in place to work in partnership with industry to address world challenges in supply chain resource sustainability, focussing on four key areas: advanced materials and manufacturing, energy and nuclear; water; and agritech and food.

“By creating and supporting a U.S.-based spoke of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Center, Penn State and its partners will benchmark the next generation of sustainability across supply chains.

At Penn State Behrend, our Open Laboratory approach to research and collaboration with business and industry partners positions us to work effectively with AREC on applied research and life-cycle product analysis, particularly in the fields of plastics and polymer processing. With access to Penn State’s broader research enterprise and on-site expertise in engineering and materials science, we have the ability to leverage the University’s resources while customizing progressive approaches that meet the needs of individual industry partners.”

Ralph M. Ford, Ph.D., Chancellor
Penn State Erie, The Behrend College



AREC Europe

While AREC's hub is based in Sheffield, UK, the centre is in the process of expanding its operations globally. The centre has an existing spoke in Greece, and is working towards creating additional spokes in the United States and Asia/Middle East.

AREC-Europe is led by Prof Panos Ketikidis and located in Thessaloniki, Greece. The spoke oversees the European expansion of AREC. Its strategic objective is to build leaders and transfer knowledge for enabling the transformation and emergence of innovative and environmentally sustainable enterprises in South East Europe. The branch’s core activities include involvement in five EU funded projects related to environmental sustainability and resource efficiency amounting to about 500 000 EUR. It also undertakes several outreach activities, often in collaboration with AREC UK, such as the Pathway to Resource Efficiency event at the European Parliament in Brussels in June 2016. AREC-Europe has an active partnership with Olympia Electronics, enabling students to undertake semester long formal assignments with the company as part of their degree. The branch also actively contributes to the research environment by providing guest lectures and organising company visits. Future plans include:

  1. Acquiring more EU and industry funded projects to build up capacity and leaders in the field of innovative and environmentally sustainable enterprises.
  2. Engaging and co-creating with industry towards providing tailored training in terms of environmental sustainability.
  3. Assisting entrepreneurs in ensuring the innovativeness and environmental sustainability of their startups.
  4. Offering consultancy to businesses in terms of using environmental sustainability assessment and mitigation (SCEnATi).

AREC China

AREC partnership with DRTT World Academy of China Development Research Think Tank (DRTT) will create positive impact to global resource efficiency and supply chain sustainability. Being a subsidiary of China Development Research Centre of the State Council, DRTT focuses on providing services covering: high-quality information, top-notch policy research and industry consulting, big data, education and training, conference and industry park. The partnership put it in the unique position to provide comprehensive solutions that benefit all stakeholders, address environmental concerns and issues of resource efficiency.

AREC China will focus on the supply chain of the energy, manufacturing and civil nuclear industries (including oil and gas), and will take on a key role in knowledge exchange with local executives in the newest developments in supply chain environmental sustainability, including opportunities for big data, autonomous and intelligence applications, and the topics of Industry 4.0 and resource efficiency.



AREC UK and Pennsylvania State University have formed a partnership with regard to research related to sustainability. Penn State University is home to the Materials Research Institute, which encompasses the national institute that does world class materials research in the States. Collaboration between the institutions will contribute to raising awareness about the excellent work conducted at the University of Sheffield internationally.

AREC USA will include our strategic industrial partners such as Microsoft. This builds from our existing strong partnership with Microsoft in the SCEnAT Suites development and our partnership will be advanced to embrace the most cutting edge digital technologies to transform supply chains and society towards resource efficiency and sustainability.



Will be announced soon...