ADVERTORIAL: Meet the winners of The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition 2020


These are the four winners of the prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition.

They pitched projects that tackle the world’s most pressing issues to industry heavyweights for the opportunity to bring cutting-edge science to the real world.

The four sector winners each take home share of £160,000 no strings funding and support to bring cutting-edge science to the real world for the benefit of society.

Now in its eighth year, the competition is a programme identifying some of the most novel, innovative and promising chemistry across its core categories of Energy & Environment, Enabling Technologies, Food & Drink and Health.

This year’s competition attracted over 90 applications, with the final shortlisted 24 representing a diverse range of proposals from tech innovators, start-ups and spin outs from across the continent.

Here are the winners in each category:

 

Enabling Technologies: Chromosol

The idea: allowing for the future integration of electronic and optical communications systems resulting in greater data transfer rates with reduced power usage.

Winner Bill Gillin, from Chromosol, said: Our work is at the interface of physics, engineering and chemistry, and this award shows how important the latter is to developing our technology. The recognition of the Royal Society of Chemistry will help us promote to the chemistry industry just how vital this work is in support of other areas.”

Andrew Muir, Investment Director at the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund, and a judge in this category, said:  “Chromosol presented us with a clear vision for the future of communications in bite-sized chunks of focus, with a really broad IP position and a strong blend of academic and commercial experience.”

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Energy & Environment: Viridi CO2

The idea: Engineering porous catalysts capable of transforming CO2 into polyurethane feedstock materials that can help to reduce reliance on petrochemicals.

Daniel Stewart, of Viridi CO2, said: “To have the endorsement of the Royal Society of Chemistry for the stage we’re at is phenomenal and gives us real impetus to speak with investors and stakeholders, and it demonstrates our enthusiasm and expertise in this area.”

Jason Harcup, Global Vice President Personal Care Research and Global Vice President Prestige Division R&D at Unilever, and a competition judge in this category, said: “Three things stood out to us with Viridi CO2:  the quality of their strategic thinking, the way they have simplified the complex with an elegant solution that brought all of the judges along with them, thanks to the clarity of their proposition and the immediate impact of what this award will bring to the development of their technology.”

Food & Drink: Max Jamilly and Ed Steele, Hoxton Farms

The idea: Using mathematical modelling and machine learning to expand and differentiate adult stem cells to make cultivated meat products.

Max Jamilly, said: The COVID-19 pandemic has really thrown into relief lots of issues that we face with food security and meat production, and with this life changing opportunity for our start up, and the support and confidence it has given us, we now have a real chance to make a difference with our work.”

Ed Steele, added: “It validates what we’re doing  and it’s really exciting for us and a positive moment for us going forward.”

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Ellen Norman, Principal Scientist at RSSL, and a competition judge in this category, said: “Hoxton Farms gave a compelling pitch across the area they’re working in and their unusual approach, and their ability to adapt their plan has the potential to make a huge impact in the future.”

Health : University of Bath

The idea: Developing insilication, a new technology that can stabilise vaccines without refrigerators.

Winner Asel Sartbaeva, said: “Winning this award is a huge boost for our team, and it gives us significant recognition and opportunities to present our technology to the industry with confidence and momentum.”

Paul Ellis, Head of Scouting and Partnerships, Research and Development at Walgreens Boots Alliance, and a competition judge in the health category, said: “It was clear that the use of the University of Bath’s technology to make vaccines stable without refrigeration has massive potential across the world.”

Jo Reynolds

Judges for the competition hailed from a host of international companies, including AstraZeneca, Boots, Croda, Johnson Matthey, Pepsico, Scott Bader, Reckitt Benckiser, RSSL, and Unilever.

Jo Reynolds, Director of Science & Communities at the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: This has been a year of significant business challenges, but this competition demonstrates there is incredible resilience and resourcefulness in the chemical sciences to innovate in ways that can deliver tremendous benefit to society.

“This competition offers a peek into the future to see what could very soon be changing our lives.”



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