RSC opens Emerging Technologies Competition 2020

Article by Amanda Jasi

THE UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is now open for entries into its 2020 Emerging Technologies Competition. Winners receive a share of £160,000 (US$200,896) no-strings-attached funding and support to accelerate tech innovators, startups, and spinouts.

Now in its eighth year, the competition is a European programme aiming to identify the most novel, innovative, and promising chemistry for advancement. RSC is calling on entrants to demonstrate leading challenges they could help to overcome to benefit the scientific community, industry, and society. The competition is for technologies that have a strong chemistry component, falling into one of four categories: Health; Energy & Environment; Food & Drink; and Enabling Technologies. A winner is selected in each category.

Following the application round, 24 finalists will be chosen to present their technologies to a panel of judges, from which four winners will be chosen. Each winner will receive £20,000 – up from £10,000 last year – and will be assigned an RSC mentor who will provide ongoing, one-on-one support for a year. Winners have the opportunity to receive a further £20,000 as a business acceleration grant.

The programme is designed to provide a unique platform to allow innovators to engage directly with and learn from the competition’s large multinational partners and judges, which include AstraZeneca, Johnson Matthey, and Unilever. This is expected to help the winners to build exposure and “unrivalled” industry validation for their projects.

Jo Reynolds, Director of Science and Communities at RSC, said: “In this incredibly challenging year, we are proud to begin inviting applications to our Emerging Technologies Competition.

“Chemistry has a prominent role to play in developing solutions to Covid-19 and a wide range of pressing societal challenges. Through this competition, agile tech innovators, startups and spinouts have a huge opportunity to show how they can contribute to tackling some of the critical issues facing the world today.”

The competition is free to enter and open to applications from academic entrepreneurs and small companies based in the UK and Europe, until midnight GMT on 12 July. Applicants from small companies must have a turnover of less than £2m.

Finalists will be announced in August, and they will then present their technologies at an event on 28 September.

Interested parties can learn more and apply by visiting the RSC website.

Previous winners have tackled issues from diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases to wound healing, food waste, and sustainable energy. Additionally, they have gone on to raise a combined total of more than £46m in equity investment and grant funding. One company was subsequently sold for £28m.

Winners and participants from previous years have significantly raised their profiles, expanded overseas, entered commercial contracts, conducted clinical and industrial-scale trials, and collectively doubled their staff.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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