Kate Parker


  • Phone: +64 7 343 5671
  • Email: Show email
  • Team: Materials, Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Role: Team Lead, Sustainable Materials


Dr Kate Parker is a chemist who is developing new packaging materials using biomaterials. Kate’s particular field of interest is biopolymer foams as alternatives to expanded polystyrene.


PhD Chemistry  University of Auckland 2002
MSc (Hons) Chemistry University of Waikato 1997
BSc Biology/Chemistry University of Waikato 1995

Research capabilities

Biopolymer foams and foaming technology

Career highlights

  • Packaging Council of New Zealand Award for Polylactic Acid Foams, 2009
  • European Bioplastics Award. Best innovation in bioplastics, 2008
  • NZ/USA Co-operative Science Programme, International Science and Technology Linkages Fund Award (Royal Society of New Zealand), 2006 and 2000
  • Best paper award.  TAPPI International Environmental, Health and Safety Conference, 2001

Selected papers

Parker K., Garancher J-P., Shah S., Weal S. and Fernyhough A. (2011) Polylactic acid (PLA) foams for packaging applications. Chapter in the Handbook of Bioplastics and Biocomposites Engineering Applications.  Pilla S. (Ed), Wiley-Scrivener. 161-175.

Parker K., Garancher J-P., Shah S., and Fernyhough A. (2011) Expanded polylactic acid – an eco-friendly alternative to polystyrene foam. Journal of Cellular Plastics 47(3), 233-243