Our winners

We have announced our winners!

Winners press release

Who are they?

On 4 July the 2024 the finalists pitched in front of the competitions' panel of judges for the opportunity to take home a share of £100,000 prize pot and the accolade of the winning the Royal Society of Chemistry's Emerging Technologies Competition.

We are very proud of the achievements of our 68 winners, who have been selected from hundreds of applicants over the last twelve years.

In that time our winners have gone on to raise a combined total of over £200m in equity investment and grant funding, one has 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 about all our winners’ cutting-edge technologies below.

2024 winners

Ignota Labs

SAFEPATH: Causal AI-driven mechanistic understanding of drug safety failures
2024 Health winner
Ignota Labs have developed a novel AI platform to understand the root causes of safety problems in drug discovery. By combining Deep Learning models to predict how the drug interacts with the body, with algorithms over complex data, we can understand the biological impact of those interactions, enabling drug failure turnaround.

“We're currently raising our seed round so being able to tell investors that we've won such a prestigious award from this institution is definitely going to help us along our way and really give that validation that we need.”

Layla Hosseini-Gerami, Chief Data Science Officer, Ignota Labs
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Imperial College London

Re-inventing Solid-Phase Peptide Synthesis
2024 Enabling Technologies winner
Imperial College London have innovated solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) to allow the synthesis of multiple peptide fragments on a single bead, departing from the conventional method of synthesising only one fragment per bead. This advancement promises to significantly boost the productivity of existing peptide analogues and facilitate the synthesis of first-in-class analogues.

“It's a very nice recognition from a prestigious institution like the Royal Society of Chemistry. It's actually kind of a push and we feel that we are doing really well, so we are very happy with this kind of recognition.”

Dr Othman Almusaimi, Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry, Orthogonal Peptides
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Sustainable sulfur containing technologies for capturing toxic metal compounds
2024 Environment winner

ThioTech utilise the low-cost and abundant industrial waste product, elemental sulfur, combined with sustainably sourced chemicals, to make high sulfur content materials that can be used as next-generation absorbents to remove toxic metal residues from water, oil, and gas, thereby preventing environmental release and contamination, potentially outperforming incumbent technologies.


“The competition was really stiff, everybody in there deserved it, and I'm really honoured and also emboldened to see that finally a panel of true experts value the technology as much as we do. It's incredible, and that really gives us the motivation to go forward.”

Liam Dodd, Chief Operating Officer, ThioTech Ltd
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University of Cambridge

H2Upgrade - hydrogen production from industrial waste gases and solvents
2024 Energy winner
Hydrogen is a promising carbon-free fuel but its current production methods rely on fossil methane or expensive electrolysers. In contrast, H2Upgrade converts zero-value industrial wastes into high-purity H2, enabling the waste-producing companies to become H2 producers and consumers, thus, promoting the H2 economy and distributed manufacturing.
“The prize money is obviously a big help to us - we'll be using that to help us incorporate as a business, do more micro-research and help us find partners - but I think as well, there's the recognition. This gives us an opportunity to go out, get some traction and really speak to new partners and build the company. It's really great to win this award.”

Professor Stuart Scott, University of Cambridge
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2023 winners

Lambda Energy

Passive Light Management for Greenhouse Horticulture
2023, Energy
Lambda’s greenhouse coatings increase the amount of red light available to plants, thereby increasing crop yield, yet they require no electricity. Enabling farmers to increase production by 20% or more means that more food can be grown domestically, which both reduces the carbon footprint of agriculture and improves food security.

Boris Breiner Chief Scientist of Lambda said:

“So, for us, this means that we have money to do two of the things that are really pressing needs for us, and that is to continue with our growth trials, which is what we do for a living. And number two, to look into things such as the long-term stability of our components, which is something that's been missing so far.”
“Our technology matters because it helps to feed the global population. We are now at 8 billion plus people. And even in rich countries like the UK, food shortages are unfortunately becoming more and more commonplace. So if we find a way to produce more fruits and vegetables domestically, then that's a good thing in terms of feeding people and it helps cut down on the carbon footprint of our day-to-day food consumption.”

“It's an incredibly good feeling to win anything at all and then to win at something like the RSC. This is clearly the biggest thing that has happened to us yet. It just goes to show that the effort we've put in over the last many years is finally beginning to pay off and it's fantastic.”
‘’Winning the Emerging Technologies Competition in the energy category to us means that we have a seal of approval from a very, very prestigious body, that is the RSC. That's just a fantastic feeling to have and from a more practical point of view, the money helps.’’

Boris Breiner, Chief Scientist, Lambda 
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Mode Labs Ltd

Compact field-deployable sensor for real-time environmental monitoring of water pollution
2023, Environment
Mode Labs optical microcavity technology provides a 10,000-fold enhancement to chemical absorption signals, enabling robust miniaturised field-deployable sensors. They provide a low-cost, portable, real-time method for quantifying pollutants in natural waterways. Their sensors are easy-to-deploy and significantly more scalable than existing approaches, allowing for targeted intervention, improved regulatory compliance, and improved environmental outcomes.

Dean James, CTO of Mode Labs Ltd said:

“I think most people will be aware that the water sector is coming under a lot of flak right now for sewage emissions and for pollution. And there are lots of very hard-working people within the water sector that are trying to address this and historical factors that are making it more and more difficult. What Modelabs are trying to do is make this process easier, cheaper and faster, and so working with partners like the Royal Society of Chemistry, we can start to make that a reality.”

“Developing technology is obviously a very expensive, expensive business and maintaining partnerships with all of our many collaborators takes a lot of work. This will help us grow the team, but also deliver our prototypes at a much faster pace.”
‘’Winning this prize is going to do fantastic things for Mode Labs. The recognition from such a prestigious institution is going to help us massively in a field where partnerships are key - forming partnerships with all our collaborators and potential customers within the water sector is vital to what we do, and the RSC award is really going to help us with that.’’

Dean James, CTO of Mode Labs Ltd
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Quantum optical sensors for non-invasive, accurate and continuous glucose monitoring
2023, Health
NIQS Tech (Leeds) Limited have developed the next generation of optical sensors. Their user-friendly, accurate sensors can measure glucose levels without drawing blood or breaking the skin barrier. Their approach provides real- time measurements simply by touching the sensor with your finger. Ultimately, enabling easier measurements will lead to more effective diabetes management.

Nick Furtak-Wells, CEO of NIQS Tech said:

“Our mission is to provide actionable insights into glucose levels without the use of needles. And to be honest, I'm still a little bit more a little bit shell-shocked to have won the award. There are a lot of great other companies in this space so to come out on top is in and of itself a great achievement.”

“This provides a lot of credibility for what we're doing as a company and helps to validate the technology and the funding that this provides, which will go a long distance to helping us with our next round of trials, so we're incredibly, incredibly happy to have won this.”

“I think winning the Royal Society of Chemistry emerging technologies competitions is a massive step forward because this helps to provide, as I say, credibility for us, for our technology, and that will help us go on to raise funding round early next year and that will support our growth plans. It will enable us to do much larger scale trials and really take us one step closer to bringing this technology to market.”
‘’It's been a long journey to get to where we are now. But I think having the support of the Royal Society of Chemistry is incredible. And I think the access to not just the network, but the network of experts that's really going to help us take the next steps to taking this technology to market.’’

Nick Furtak-Wells, CEO of NIQS
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University of Nottingham

Nottingham Vortex: scalable process platform to accelerate discovery to production
2023, Enabling Technologies
The University of Nottingham's continuous-flow Vortex Reactor provides access to Photo-/Electro- and Thermal chemistries in single or linked reactors. The Reactor decouples residence time from mixing efficacy delivering high-productivity, simple operation and scale-up. The Reactor is capable of Gram-to-10 Kilo Scale production of pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and fine chemicals in a small-footprint reactor.

Professor Michael George from University of Nottingham said:

“Well, the first thing is that it gives us recognition of what we’re doing and the backing and the advice that it brings. But the key thing is we have a path to working with companies and a lot of industry pull to be able to do this. And this recognition gives credibility and actually the push to actually try and implement this quickly.”
“What the future holds is that we're negotiating with a large number of large companies and small companies also manufacturing companies and LED manufacturers to bring this together to try and get this technology out there and used to make a difference in the world of manufacturing.”

‘’Absolutely thrilled to obtain this for the University of Nottingham but the key thing is this is not just for me, it's for a whole team that's been able to do this with the team going right the way from chemical engineers and mechanical all the way to physicists, been a huge effort to try and make new technology that can make a huge difference in manufacture, but also going towards what we have to do for net zero in the future.’’

Professor Michael George, Nottingham University
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Register your interest for 2025

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