Four share Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies prize money
13 Jul 2021
Four tech innovators from four categories shared the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition 2021, winning a part of £160,000-worth of ‘no strings’ funding.
MagLib (UCL), Bio-Sep Limited, Sphera Encapsulation and Somnus Scientific beat 20 other finalists after competing in front of a panel of judges from companies including AstraZeneca, PepsiCo and Unilever for the ninth year of the competition.
Each winner gains £20,000 prize money, plus 12 months’ one-on-one support from a specially assigned Royal Society of Chemistry mentor, and a further £20,000 available as a business acceleration grant.
Director of science & communities at the RCS Jo Reynolds said:
“As always, our judges were faced with a very difficult task in selecting our winners from an exceptionally competitive range of finalists. All of the presentations have given us great confidence in the ability of the next generation of early-stage start-ups, spin outs and innovators to deliver ground-breaking solutions to major challenges through novel chemistry.”
The winners by category are:
Energy & Environment: MagLib (UCL) - Bespoke magnetic fields 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 substantialimprovement that will aid the transition to low-carbon technologies.
Enabling Technologies: Bio-Sep Limited - 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.
Food & Drink: Sphera Encapsulation - Cutting-edge encapsulates - totally soluble in water - that 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.
Health: Somnus Scientific - State-of-the-art biosensor technology to develop innovative point-of-care intermittent and continuous sedation and anaesthesia monitoring devices. This will make propofol-based sedation and anaesthesia safer for patients and more cost effective for healthcare.
Competition judge in the Energy & Environment category Jason Harcup – global vice president personal care research and global vice president prestige division R&D at Unilever – said: “It was close for us, and there was only one point difference across our top three in this category. Our domain expert on the judging panel was particularly impressed with the quality of the science and technology that has gone into the solution which gave us huge confidence…this prize could have a very high impact - and could allow the team to grow rapidly in line with the maturation of their market.”
MagLib’s Thomas Heenan (pictured)said the win would accelerate the company’s transition out of the university environment into industry, and the funds will enable ito embark on partner projects including prototypes and pilot lines.
“The recognition from the Royal Society of Chemistry will be a key enabler in attracting additional funding and getting up and running with the partnerships that we want to establish,” he stated.