Recently, the geoscientists on the Petroleum Research Fund (PRF) Committee re-evaluated the scope of "PRF-relevant" geochemistry, and renamed PRF Science Panel 2 (Geochemistry and Biogeochemical Cycling).

Part of their discussion included the concept of research on microplastic particles in sediments, and considered the possible relevance of microplastics to fundamental petroleum geochemistry.

They decided that some, but not all, aspects of microplastic particles could be considered for support by PRF. Specifically, research on microplastics as Carbon-based geomaterials in marine, fluvial, lacustrine, and estuarine sediments could be considered, if a proposal focused on the sedimentary geochemistry, surface chemistry, burial degradation and chemical alteration of these materials.

However, the PRF Trust excludes “applied” research from support, so the PRF Committee still excludes pollution and environmental remediation research, as outside the scope of the PRF Trust. Accordingly, proposed research on pollution or toxicity of these microplastics would be excluded from consideration by the PRF Committee.