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University Outreach

The Vinyl Institute is committed to smart material selection, and to ensuring future decisions makers have the material education they need to make informed choices. That’s why the Vinyl institute as invested more than $1.6M over the past five years on programs that encourage material exploration and innovation.

Vinyl Institute Travel Grant for Vinyltec

Annually, the Vinyl Institute looks  to select up to 3 students to receive travel grants to the Society of Plastics Engineers’ Vinyltec 2017. The goal is to expose them to vinyl, the material, and the industry.

Vinyltec is the largest vinyl-focused conference in the United States.There, attendees learn about new developments in the vinyl industry and receive training in niche areas of the industry.

To apply for the Vinyl Institute Travel Grant for Vinyltec, a prospective grantee must: 1. Be enrolled at an accredited U.S. university, 2. Be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in polymer science, material science, chemistry, or chemical engineering, and 3. Be able to travel to whichever city Vinyltec is hosted each year.

Click here to download the application for a Vinyl Institute travel grant for Vinyltec 2017.

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Sponsorships

The Vinyl Institute sponsored teams in the last three DOE Solar Decathlons, which is a collegiate competition where teams of students design and build energy-efficient houses powered by the sun. These teams spend almost two years creating houses to compete in 10 contents of the Solar Decathlon.  The Vinyl Institute sponsored the following competition entries, each feature vinyl building applications that contribute to the homes’ energy-efficiency, durability and resilience:

SU+RE House, Stevens Institute of Technology’s 2015 entry, and overall winner of the U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon, represents the team’s vision of a sustainable and resilient home for coastal neighborhoods at greatest risk from rising sea-levels and increasingly severe storms. Vinyl building products enhanced the sustainability and resilience of this coastal home due to their durability, non-corrosiveness and energy-efficiency.





DALE (Dynamic Augmented Living Environment), Sci-Arc/Caltech’s 2013 entry,  showed that durable and versatile vinyl materials could help to create a living space that stands up to environmental demands. PVC flooring, upholstery and other surfaces made it a dynamic space that adapted with the weather and the needs of its inhabitants, often transforming space from indoor to outdoor and back again with a simple push of a button.




CHIP (Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype), Sci-Arc/Caltech’s 2011 entry, explored what would happen if simple assumptions like the placement of insulation or the use of cladding systems were challenged. Flexible vinyl materials allowed Sci-Arc and Caltech students the freedom to design and build a solar home in a new and high-performing way.




American Institute of Architecture Students Design Competitions

For more than five years, the Vinyl Institute sponsored an annual design competition with the AIAS, to explore innovative and traditional ways vinyl products could be used in solve design problems. From a bicycle transit center in Denver, CO, to an awards pavilion in Toronto, each competition addresses a need in the local community of the host city for FORUM, the AIAS or AIA annual meeting/convention.

Find out more about our latest VI sponsored AIAS competition.




Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) Permanent Change Plastics Conference

The Vinyl Institute sponsored Permanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering, which was one in a series of conferences convened by the GSAPP at Columbia University. The conference explored the contributions of plastics in the built environment. Designers of all disciplines joined researchers, academics and vinyl industry representatives for a multi-day symposium to look at the use of plastic products and systems, historically, in the present day and the future. A book was published that captured the output of the conference and serves as a resource to those exploring various plastics in building materials.


Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture/National Endowment for the Arts Habitat Design Competition

Matching funds from the Vinyl Institute allowed the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSC) to use National Endowment for the Arts funding to incentivize architecture students to develop sustainable, affordable home designs that responded to local demands of Habitat for Humanity. These designs challenged the notion that affordable housing can’t be beautiful, accessible and stand the test of time.