The Royal Society of Chemistry opens Emerging Technologies Competition 2021 for entries

Source: press release, 1 March 2021

Director of Science & Communities at the Royal Society of Chemistry, Jo Reynolds
Director of Science & Communities at the Royal Society of Chemistry, Jo Reynolds (photo: Royal Society of Chemistry)

The Royal Society of Chemistry has launched its Emerging Technologies Competition 2021, inviting the next generation of tech innovators, start-ups and spin outs to come forward with ground-breaking ideas.

The competition – entering its 9th year – works to identify some of the most novel, innovative and promising chemistry from across Europe.

The programme provides a unique platform for innovators to engage directly with and learn from large multinational partners and judges – from AstraZeneca, Boots, Croda, Eli Lilly, Givaudan, Marks & Spencer, Pepsico, PETRONAS, Reckitt Benckiser, RSSL, Scott Bader and Unilever – to build exposure and unrivalled industry validation for their projects.

Winners will enjoy up to GBP 160,000 no-strings funding and support to accelerate their businesses across each of the core categories of Health, Energy & Environment, Food & Drink and Enabling Technologies.

Jo Reynolds, Director of Science & Communities at the Royal Society of Chemistry, says, “We were so impressed with the way last year’s difficult circumstances inspired such an array of terrific ideas for using chemistry to tackle the challenges we are facing, and we eagerly await applications for 2021 as we continue to experience the consequences of this pandemic and other global issues.”

“This competition consistently demonstrates the prominent role that chemistry can play – not only in developing solutions to pressing societal challenges and countering threats to the sustainable future of our planet – but also in driving economic growth. Once again, budding tech innovators, agile start-ups and spin-outs have a huge opportunity to show how they can contribute. We are also proud to welcome back many of our highly experienced judges for another year, alongside some new faces. Together, we are very much looking forward to seeing, first-hand, the creative innovations that hold such promise for our collective future,” continues Reynolds.

Each winner stands to gain GBP 20,000 prize money as well as 12 months’ one-on-one support from a specially assigned Royal Society of Chemistry mentor, and a further GBP 20,000 available as a business acceleration grant.

Last year’s winners tackled issues from stabilising vaccines without refrigeration, using machine learning to make cultivated meat products and creating catalytic solutions for closing the carbon loop. In 2021, the competition is once again calling on entrants to demonstrate the leading challenges they could help overcome for the benefit of society as a whole.

Emerging Technologies Competition winners from previous years have gone on to raise a combined total of over GBP 121 million in equity investment and grant funding, with one company subsequently being sold for GBP 28 million.

Winners and participants have significantly raised their profiles, expanded overseas, entered commercial contracts, conducted clinical and industrial scale trials, and collectively doubled their staff.

The competition is free to apply to and welcomes applicants from the UK and Europe whose technology has a strong component of chemistry, in one of the following categories:

  • Health
  • Energy & Environment
  • Food & Drink
  • Enabling Technologies

Applicants have until 18th April to submit their entries. A shortlist of finalists will be revealed in late May, ahead of the Emerging Technologies Final event in June.

To apply or for more information, visit