LICEM, acronym for "Laboratory for the identification, characterisation and eco-toxicity of conventional microplastics and new advanced polymeric materials", is an equipment, infrastructure and development project for ocean and renewable energy research, funded by the Agencia Canaria de Investigación, Innovación y Sociedad de la Información.

The development of this project will allow the implementation of laboratories specialised in the study of polymeric materials and their impact on the environment. These materials are of great importance and interest due to their diverse applications and the large variety of characteristics they have. However, these same characteristics make them materials that, if badly managed, can be harmful to the environment if they end up in the natural environment.

For this reason, this project will focus on the characterisation of new materials formulated on the basis of materials of renewable origin as a partial substitute for polymeric materials of petrochemical origin, also evaluating the positive effect on organisms of the elimination of toxic elements from conventional plastics by the creation of these new polymeric materials.

Project Objectives

The main objective of the LICEM project is the development of more sustainable and efficient plastics, through studies on the composition and characterisation of this type of waste (meso and microplastics), and their impact on the environment.

The effect on marine organisms of the toxicity or non-toxicity of small sized microplastics obtained from conventional plastics and advanced/alternative polymeric materials on marine organisms will be studied through a series of experiments, both metabolic and toxicological.

Researchers involved

The project is led by Dr. May Gómez Cabrera, head of the EOMAR group belonging to the University Institute ECOAQUA, in collaboration with Dr. Alicia Herrera Ulibarri, Dr. Rodrigo Almeda García and the researcher Ico Martínez Sánchez, also members of the EOMAR group.

The EOMAR group collaborates in this project with the Research Group on Integrated and Advanced Manufacturing of the ULPGC, with the participation of Dr. Mª Dolores Marrero Alemán and Dr. Zaida Ortega Medina.

Participating Institutions

University Institute for Research on Sustainable Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (ECOAQUA)

The University Institute ECOAQUA was founded in 2016 and currently encompasses four research groups (GIA, BIOCON, EOMAR and TOTMA), which develop their scientific work around blue growth policies and the circular economy. The research centre brings together experts from different areas of knowledge such as zoologists, botanists, physiologists, veterinarians, oceanographers, jurists, pathologists, palaeontologists, agronomists, economists, etc.

Integrated and Advanced Manufacturing Research Group

This group, led by Dr. Mario Monzón, is part of the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the ULPGC. Its main lines of research are polymer processing, additive manufacturing and rapid tooling (electroforming), the processing of natural fibres and their application in composite materials and technical fabrics, biomaterials for additive manufacturing and microfabrication.

Funded by



The University Institute ECOAQUA is a research centre that belongs to the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a public institution that offers a wide range of degrees in all the major areas of knowledge, with the aim of providing comprehensive training to those who come to it, in a commitment based on innovation, quality and internationalisation.