The Emerging Technologies Competition 2017 is open for entries until 13 March 2017. You can enter the competition here and read more about how to enter in our application and judging section.
About the competition
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).
Energy & environment
Food & drink
Materials & enabling technologies
The competition is free to enter and open to small companies and universities, 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 2017. This is a high-profile two-day event bringing together start-ups, small and medium enterprises, multinational organisations, and academic entrepreneurs from across the chemistry-using community.
Entering the Emerging Technologies Competition is a chance to gain exposure for your technology, receive tailored support from our competition partners, and win up to £10,000 to develop your idea.
Since the competition began four years ago, our previous winners have gone on to raise a combined total of over £25m in equity investment and grant funding, and one has recently announced a £28m trade sale. We’ve also seen the winners expand overseas, enter commercial contracts, conduct clinical and industrial scale trials, and collectively double their number of employees. Read more about what our winners have gone on to achieve.
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.
Winning the competition has been a real profile raiser. For us – a small company based in the North East of England – it gives us credibility in the market and it really brought our company to the attention of people who otherwise would have been unaware.
Our prizes are designed to help you take your ideas to the next level; there will be eight winners - two in each category - and many benefits for our 40 shortlisted entrants too.
Tailored business support from our partner companies
This includes access to networks, strategy review, mentoring, idea evaluation with consumers, potential commercial partnerships and more…
Exposure for the winning technology
Support with media coverage, including the possibility to feature in our flagship magazine, Chemistry World (circulation 50,000)
Cash prizes of £10,000
Two prizes of £10,000 in each of the 4 categories
Financial mentoring and guidance
A year’s free mentoring and support from a leading accountancy firm, KPMG
A two-day intensive business training course, provided by the University of Cambridge's Judge Business School, taking place in September 2017
Intellectual property advice
A bespoke mentoring package from one of Europe’s leading Intellectual Property firms, Mewburn Ellis LLP
What we offer shortlisted entrants
All shortlisted entrants will receive the following.
Two free tickets to Chemistry Means Business 2017
Through specialist talks, workshops, masterclasses and facilitated networking you’ll have the chance to forge new connections, future-proof your business ideas, and gather key industry insights
A space at the Chemistry Means Business poster session
In addition to pitching at the competition final, each shortlisted entrant will present their technology at our poster exhibition. This is a chance to showcase your technology to more than 300 delegates – including potential investors – and meet the competition’s multinational partners
All shortlisted entrants are invited to a two-day intensive business training course, taking place in September 2017
Intellectual property advice
Leading intellectual property firm, Mewburn Ellis LLP, are giving all shortlisted applicants access to support and advice through their Emerging Technologies Startup Mentoring package.
Our industrial partners are multinational companies who are global leaders in their fields; they will provide tailored support and guidance to all winners in each of our competition categories.
This support has previously included: strategy reviews; assisting with market research; supporting funding bids; sample testing; introductions to new networks; and guidance on IP and regulation.
Working with the partners helped to focus our minds on particular market sections that our technology really brought a benefit to. It helped to inform the direction of our technology development and saved us a lot of time.
Our 2017 industrial partners are AstraZeneca, GE Healthcare, Johnson Matthey, Schlumberger, Unilever, Croda, GSK, Pfizer, AkzoNobel, Mondelez and Diageo, with more to be announced soon. Read more about our competition partners.
Our business support partners are KPMG, Mewburn Ellis LLP, and the University of Cambridge's Judge Business School. They will provide winners and shortlisted applicants with financial mentoring, intellectual propery advice, and entrepreneurial training.
Application & judging
To enter the Emerging Technologies Competition 2017, you will need to submit your idea using our online application form. The competition is open to applications until 13 March 2017.
If your idea is shortlisted, we will invite you to present to a panel of expert judges at the competition final, taking place at Chemistry Means Business 2017.
Key 2017 dates
Online applications open
Online applications close
Shortlisted entries announced
Chemistry Means Business Day 1:
Shortlisted entries pitch to panels of experts (day event) Winners announced at awards dinner (evening event)
Chemistry Means Business Day 2:
Networking, specialist masterclasses, interactive workshops and a poster session for all shortlisted entries
A two-day intensive business training course
The competition categories
We welcome chemistry-driven innovation relating to improving and maintaining health.
New drugs and therapies
Devices for drug delivery
Targeted drug delivery
Novel modes of drug administration for paediatrics and geriatrics
Diagnostic devices (in vivo and in vitro)
New technologies for infection prevention
Screening, collection enhancement and monitoring
Sensors and microfluidics
Novel taste-masking technologies for pharmaceuticals
Energy & environment
We welcome chemistry-driven innovation relating to securing clean energy and preserving the environment.
Energy conversion and storage
Renewable fuels and renewable energy
Low energy cleaning
Fuel cell and battery technology
Water/ air quality and purification
Chemicals from carbon dioxide
Carbon capture and storage
Hydrogen storage and (bio)hydrogen production
Food & drink
We welcome chemistry-driven innovation relating to the sustainable production of safe and healthier food and drink.
Healthy food and nutrition
Novel delivery technologies
Food and raw material authenticity, security and traceability
Food ingredient stability and monitoring
Crop protection and agricultural productivity
Sustainable practices in process efficiency and waste minimisation
Materials & enabling technologies
We welcome chemistry-driven ideas relating to developing advanced materials and enabling technologies for sustainable innovation.
Novel catalysts, including enzymes
Materials for use in electronic and magnetic applications
Soft matter materials
Materials for extreme environmentsNew composites
New technology for surface modification
Polymers and coatings
Delivery and encapsulation technology
Novel process technologies
Novel characterisation methods
Sustainability benefits in use
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 scientific feasibility of your technology
The market opportunities and potential impact of your technology
Your approach to commercialisation
The stage of development of your technology will be taken into account in order to make a fair assessment of your application.
The Emerging Technologies Competition welcomes applications from universities and 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
Applying to the Emerging Technologies Competition counts as a public disclosure of your idea and it is your responsibility to protect it adequately before making an application. Failure to do so may affect your ability to protect it in the future.
Before applying, please ensure you are satisfied with the level of protection for any idea or material included in the application, and seek your own legal advice if necessary. We advise university groups to contact their technology transfer office if they require guidance.
Applicants are not required include more detail about their ideas than they feel comfortable with or than is indicated in the online application form. However, please be aware that providing insufficient detail may affect the ability of the judges to make a fair assessment of your application.
There is no cost to enter the competition and you will retain full control and ownership of your technology.