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Global Opportunities in the Emerging Technologies Competition 2019

A prestigious competition that has helped innovators raise millions of pounds to take their concepts to the global marketplace is looking for 2019’s most life-changing creations.

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition has helped winners raise more than £32million in funding since it was launched in 2013.

Backed by some of the world’s biggest companies, such as Unilever, Croda, Johnson Matthey, RSSL and Pfizer, entries are now open until 5 July for the next big success story whose mastery of the chemical sciences helped create a product that can deliver a real-world benefit for wider society.

Aurora Antemir, a senior manager in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Industry team said: “In less than a decade, the Emerging Technologies Competition has gone from being an exciting new competition for innovators to one of the most respected showcases of the technology and products of tomorrow.

“This is entirely down to the entrants, who each year bring forward incredible new ideas and innovations that surprise even our panel of experts. We are thoroughly looking forward to seeing the entries for this year’s competition and discovering how the innovators of today are going to help shape the world of tomorrow.”

As well as a £10,000 cash prize, winners will receive world-class mentorship and support from the competition’s high-profile backers, as well as business and pitch training from the Cambridge Judge Business School.

The competition is open to small companies or university spin outs based in the UK, EU, Norway or Iceland with fewer than 20 employees and a turnover of less than £2million.

Entries are invited in four categories:

  • Health
  • Energy and the environment
  • Food and drink
  • Enabling technologies

Previous winners include Aqdot Ltd, who won the Emerging Technologies Competition in 2013 for its encapsulation technology, which can be used for improving air quality, advanced personal care and better medicines.

After winning, it received support from GSK, Croda and P&G, who provided advice and guidance on a range of topics, from lab techniques and chemical regulations to building a plan for commercialisation and identifying potential customers. 

Dr Roger Coulson, Chief Scientific Officer of Aqdot said: “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.”

Since winning the competition, Aqdot has grown fast, raising more than £9m in equity investment and acquiring new lab space. Most recently, in April of this year, it completed a £6million Series B funding round to accelerate the commercialisation of its AqBit technology, which captures, holds and releases materials as needed.

The company is now focusing on the high value sectors of air quality, personal care and life sciences, recently releasing the Acitote® agrochemical pod sealant product with its partner, Intracrop, as well as its first household item, Oderase, with online supermarket, Ocado.

Last year’s winners included Smartwound, a new dressing from the University of Bath that changes colour if a wound becomes infected, and HexagonFab, whose biomarker detection technology can be used to quickly test for allergens in food production.

Applicants are advised that the technology entered must have some form of IP protection.

Aurora added: “The opportunities that winning the Emerging Technologies Competition presents are invaluable and can be pivotal in turning a good idea into a successful business, so we would encourage anyone who meets the entry criteria to submit an application.

“This year’s competition partners have extraordinary global reach and expertise – representing a tremendous opportunity for any company or spinout that’s keen to take their idea to the next level.”

For further information and details on how to apply for the competition, visit are required to be available 28–29 October in London if shortlisted.