Our Emerging Technologies Competition aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative technologies in the following areas (you can find out more about these categories in Application & judging).
Health & wellbeing
Energy & environment
Food & water
The competition is free to enter and open to small companies, universities, and research institutions, who can apply using our online application form. We welcome ideas, at any stage of development, from across the UK and Europe.
Shortlisted entrants will be invited to present their ideas to a panel of expert judges at the competition final, taking place at Chemistry Means Business 2016. This is a high-profile two-day event bringing together professionals from across the chemistry-using community.
Entering the Emerging Technologies Competition is a chance to gain exposure for your technology, receive tailored support from one of our competition partners, and win up to £20,000 to develop your idea.
Since the initiative began in 2013, our winners have gone on to raise £10 million in follow-on funding, doubled their number of employees and entered commercial contracts.
Winning is "...a verification that among all the other great ideas out there, yours has been noticed. The industry contacts and exposure all add to the obvious financial gain".
David Fairen-Jimenez (University of Cambridge): Winner 2015, Materials
Our prizes are designed to help you take your ideas to the next level; there are three for each category, and benefits for shortlisted entrants, too.
What we offer shortlisted entrants
All 40 shortlisted entrants will receive business training and a free exhibition stand at Chemistry Means Business 2016. This is a chance to showcase your technology to more than 300 delegates – including potential investors – and get insights from opinion leaders in industry.
Prizes for competition winners
Our first-, second- and third-place winners in each competition category will receive the following.
Tailored business support from one of our partner companies
Including access to networks, strategy review, potential commercial partnerships, idea evaluation with consumers and more
Exposure for the winning technology
Support with media coverage, including a feature in our flagship magazine, Chemistry World (circulation 50,000)
Cash prizes of up to £20,000
First prize £20,000, second prize £3,000 and third prize £2,000
Our partners are multinational companies who are global leaders in their fields; they will provide tailored business support and guidance to all winners in each of our competition categories.
After the competition raised the profile of Matthew’s synthetic polymer for cryopreservation of donated human tissue, he has secured £1.5m in follow-on funding. Matthew can be seen on the far the left of the image. (Competition winner 2014)
Aqdot have been working with P&G to utilise their inexpensive micro-encapsulation technology. They have received over £3.6 million in follow-up funding since the competition raised their profile. (Competition winner 2013)
With the help of GSK, Biogelx have successfully marketed their cell-matched peptide hydrogel technology. They have since opened an office in the US, and raised £650,000 of equity investment. (Competition winner 2013). Read Biogelx's case study.
University of Oxford (Professor Kylie Vincent)
Since winning the competition, GSK have been supporting Kylie's research group with their funding bids. This has resulted in the group being awarded over £2.5 million to take their enzyme catalysis technology towards market. (Competition winner 2013). Read Kylie's case study.
Shortlisted entries pitch to panels of experts at Chemistry Means Business (day event) Winners announced at awards dinner (evening event)
Business training, specialist talks and exhibition for all shortlisted entries
The competition categories
Health & wellbeing
We welcome ideas in areas related to improving and maintaining health and wellbeing.
Screening and monitoring
New drugs and therapies
New technologies for infection prevention
Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs
Energy & environment
We welcome ideas in all areas related to securing clean energy and preserving the environment.
Energy conversion and storage
Renewable fuels and renewable energy
Low energy cleaning technologies
Food & water
We welcome ideas in all areas related to securing a safe, environmentally responsible and affordable food supply, and creating healthy and sustainable food.
Food authenticity and traceability
Smart ingredients and smart packaging
We welcome ideas in all areas related to developing future and sustainable materials.
Advanced materials and nanomaterials
Novel catalysts including enzymes
Electronic and magnetic materials
Soft matter materials
New technologies for personal care, fabric and home care
Hygiene, including consumer product applications
Our judges are industry leaders and experts in their fields, drawn from a wide range of specialisms.
The applications will be judged according to the following criteria:
The degree of innovation of technology (how this differentiates from existing technologies)
The potential impact of technology
The quality of the science behind the technology
The Emerging Technologies Competition welcomes applications from universities, research institutions or small companies – that is, with fewer than 20 employees and an annual turnover less than £2 million.
The technologies/ideas submitted must have a strong chemistry component, and must be relevant to one of the four competition categories.
You must be based in one of the EU Member States or Switzerland, Norway or Iceland.
Protect your ideas
There is no cost to enter the competition and you will retain full control and ownership of your technology. However, applying to the Emerging Technologies Competition counts as a public disclosure of your idea; you must make sure that the technology presented is yours, and that you are free to disclose it.
You have the responsibility to protect your idea adequately before making an application to the Royal Society of Chemistry.