Royal Society of Chemistry innovation competition winners announced

The ninth edition of the The Emerging Technologies competition final, held over two days, saw 24 finalists pitching to a panel of judges

Jo Reynolds, Director of Science & Communities at the Royal Society of Chemistry

Four tech companies have been crowned the winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies competition 2021, collecting the prize across four industry categories.

The ninth edition of the competition’s final, held over two days, saw 24 finalists pitching to a panel of judges from companies including AstraZeneca, PepsiCo and Unilever. The winners gain a share of no-strings funding and support to accelerate their work and bring cutting-edge science to the real world for the benefit of society.

The competition is held to identify novel, innovative and promising chemistry across its core categories. Competing against five other finalists in each category, this year’s entrants represented a range of proposals from tech innovators, start-ups and spin outs.

In the Enabling Technologies categories, Bio-Sep won for its technology to convert lignocellulosic biomasses efficiently, cleanly and economically into cellulose, sugars and lignin for use as platform chemicals in a wide range of industrial and domestic applications.

MagLib, a UCL spin out, won in the Energy & Environment category for its bespoke magnetic fields, designed to enhance the performance of lithium-ion batteries for applications from smart-watches and mobile phones towards electric vehicles. Testing has demonstrated charging time reductions of up to 67%, a substantial improvement that will aid the transition to low-carbon technologies.

The Food & Drink category was won by Sphera Encapsulation. Its encapsulates - totally soluble in water - can be consumed without the addition of any flavours or aromas. This will overcome major challenges related to the intake of bioactive lipophilic ingredients, such as oils.

Finally, Somnus Scientific won in the Health category. Its biosensor technology is being used to develop point-of-care intermittent and continuous sedation and anaesthesia monitoring devices. The tech is hoped to make propofol-based sedation and anaesthesia safer for patients and more cost-effective for healthcare.

Each winner has been awarded £20,000 prize money, as well as 12 months’ one-on-one support from a specially assigned Royal Society of Chemistry mentor, with a further £20,000 made available as a business acceleration grant.

Jo Reynolds, Director of Science & Communities at the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “This year’s final event was an outstanding showcase of cutting-edge science, and huge credit to our winners – and all of the competing finalists – for wowing our judges with an array of innovative and very well-considered ideas for chemistry to tackle societal challenges.”

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