Emerging Technologies Competition

The Royal Society of Chemistry's annual innovation competition

Applications are open until 15 April

Apply now

About the competition

The Emerging Technologies Competition identifies and supports *UK-based chemistry-led technologies. 

This exciting annual event provides a valuable platform for early-stage start-ups, spinouts, and academic entrepreneurs to showcase their innovations and gain exposure that will enhance their visibility and attract potential customers, partners, and investors.

*We particularly welcome applications who are led by; women, from Black and minoritised ethnic backgrounds, identify as LGBTQ+ and/or belong to any other underrepresented groups.

Applicants are required to complete an online application covering: 

  • The problem that your technology is addressing
  • The market opportunities and potential impact of your technology.
  • Your planned approach to commercialisation.

The judging panel, comprised of experienced deep tech chemistry innovators and leaders, will select 24 finalists to pitch in person at the competition final, which will take place on the 4th of July at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s prestigious Burlington House headquarters in London. Winners for each category will be announced on the day.

If you would like more information, need help with your application or, would like to judge or sponsor the competition. Email our Programme Manager: Emily Vipond.

 

Contact us

Why apply

Recognition

An opportunity for your technology to be recognised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, boosting the profile of your innovation, and attracting potential customers, partners, and investors.

Feedback

Constructive and insightful feedback from our experienced competition judges.

Funding

A chance to receive a share of the £100,000 prize pot.

Publicity

Press coverage and exposure of your technology on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s website and social media channels.

Visibility

An opportunity to showcase your innovation to a renowned audience of industry leaders, investors and peers.

Knowledge

Access to a package of support to help further develop your innovation. Topics covered include IP, telling your companies story, pitch training.

Taking part

*You are eligible to apply if you are:

  • UK-based and developing a chemistry-led technology.
  • A University entrepreneur, research groups or spinout venture.
  • From a start-up that has raised less than £/€1 million equity funding (excluding grant funding) and have less than 20 employees.
  • Aligned with one of the four competition categories (Enabling Technologies, Energy, Environment, Health)
*We particularly welcome applications from start-ups, spin-outs and academic researchers who are women, from Black and minoritised ethnic backgrounds, who identify as LGBTQ+ and/or belong to any other underrepresented groups. 

Our timeline

Competition categories

Environment

We welcome chemistry driven innovation for new processes and products that deliver significant energy generation, efficiency, or storage improvements, supporting sustainable energy as part of our transition to NetZero.

Topic inspiration:

  • Resource efficiency and waste minimisation
  • Recycling technologies
  • Substitution of toxic or hazardous materials
  • Environmental monitoring, analysis and remediation
  • Substitution of critical and scarce materials
  • Pollution control and remediation
  • Air: quality and purification
  • Water: capture, quality, purification and recycling
  • Renewable feedstocks and formulations
  • Crop protection and agricultural productivity
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Circular food systems
  • Future food eg alternative proteins, nutrition

Enabling technologies

We welcome chemistry-led technologies that enable the creation or improvement of products and services across a wide product scope, potentially in combination with other complementary technologies.

Topic inspiration:

  • Nanotechnology
  • AI and novel digital chemistry
  • Smart materials, packaging, and ingredients
  • Polymers, composites, and coatings
  • Novel delivery and encapsulation technology
  • New technology for surface modification
  • Soft matter materials
  • Novel catalysts, including enzymes
  • Novel process technologies
  • Novel characterisation and analysis methods
  • Materials for extreme environment
 

Energy

We welcome chemistry driven innovation for new processes and products that deliver significant energy generation, efficiency, or storage improvements, supporting sustainable energy as part of our transition to NetZero.

Topic inspiration:

 
  • Renewable energy
  • Energy efficiency
  • Energy conversion and storage
  • Fuel cells 
  • Battery technology
  • Hydrogen storage and (bio)hydrogen production
  • Low carbon heating
  • Carbon capture, storage, and utilisation 
  • Solar energy
  • Cleaner fuels and lubricants
  • Energy efficient buildings
  • New fuels eg biofuels
 
 

Health

We welcome chemistry-driven innovation to ensure healthier lives and maintain well-being for all and at all ages, including global healthcare challenges such as COVID.

Topic inspiration:

  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • New drugs and therapies
  • Infectious disease
  • Personalised medicine
  • Tissue engineering
  • & regenerative medicine
  • Nutrition & obesity
  • Personalised medicine
  • Devices for drug delivery
  • Targeted drug delivery
  • Novel modes of drug administration for paediatrics and geriatrics
  • Diagnostic devices (in vivo and in vitro)
  • New technologies for infection prevention
  • Screening, collection enhancement and monitoring
  • Measurements, sensors, and microfluidics
 
 

Key contributors

Find out more about our judges, partners, and sponsor who are dedicated in providing support and advice. 

Read more

Previous winners

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.

If you are interested in collaborating with – or investing in – any of our winners please get in touch using the contact details on this page.
 
Winners gallery

Applications are open until 15 April

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

Apply now