Our winners

Applications are open until 15 April.

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Who are they?

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

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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Alivion AG

Handheld methanol detector for food control and medical diagnostics
2022, Enabling Technologies
Methanol poisoning causes blindness or even death. Yet, methanol detector for diagnosis by breath analysis or screening of beverages are not available. Here, a handheld, nanostructured sensor is presented for highly selective methanol detection in less than 2 min. This device enables on-site analyses by distillers, authorities, and health professionals.
‘’This award is amazing for us. It's a great honour and recognition for the whole team. The Emerging Technologies Competition is a great opportunity because it really recognises young start-ups and supports them in this tough process of innovation forming and product development, and we highly appreciate this.’’

Andreas Güntner, CEO & Co-Founder, Alivion AG
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Low Sulphur Fuels

Fast electrochemical process to recover used hydrocarbons
2022, Environment
LSF has a developed a unique chemical recycling process, fast electrochemical process, to convert used hydrocarbon containing feedstocks and produce circular outputs that can used to make new plastics, rubbers, chemicals, and other industrial products.
‘’I think the opportunity to engage with the Royal Society of Chemistry has allowed us to sharpen our offering - to get exposure to an audience that we found difficult to reach [including] chemical people, chemical investors, chemical customers and so that's been extremely valuable. It's also allowed us to refine and revise what we would say and how we would say it, to different companies, and Emily was very helpful in terms of helping with that.’’

Glenn Halliday, Director, LSF
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MetalloBio Limited

A ruthenium antimicrobial platform technology to treat multi-drug resistant infections
2022, Health
MetalloBio have developed a novel ruthenium platform technology with application potential as a systemic antibiotic and as a coating for medical devices.

The compounds that underpin the platform are more active than clinical antibiotics, have a novel multi-modal mechanism of action, little-no-emergence of resistance and represent a new antimicrobial class.
‘’I'm really really happy. I was the youngest person that pitched today. I came straight out of a PhD into a start-up, and I think coming to things like this, you meet like-minded people and really, it's nice to be alongside people with the same challenges. Also talking to people from the [judging] panel, that's obviously helpful as well - they've given me a lot of tips about where I can go forward.’’

Kirsty Smitten, CEO & Co-founder, MetalloBio
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Porous Liquid Technologies

Porous Liquid Technology to enable low energy CO2 Capture
2022, Energy
Porous Liquid Technologies is a unique technology enabling ultra-efficient CO2 capture by combining low cost, readily available porous liquids, and solids to create an easily recyclable/regenerable liquid, with high CO2 capacity.

These liquids display huge cost advantages and thermal stability over current technology. Physisorbed gas can be released at low energy by simple temperature/pressure swing.
‘’It has been absolutely brilliant. Even before finding out, we had won, this has been a very positive experience, chatting to people here [at the final], getting a little bit of feedback on the way we're positioning ourselves was really helpful.’’

Stuart James, Co-inventor & Co-Founder, Porous Liquid Technologies  
More info...

Applications are open until 15 April

Don't miss out on the opportunity to get your technology recognised!