Prizes up for grabs at food innovation contest

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Ellen Norman talks to Food Manufacture about this year's Royal Society of Chemistry Emerging Technologies Competition.
Ellen Norman talks to Food Manufacture about this year's Royal Society of Chemistry Emerging Technologies Competition.

Related tags coronavirus Innovation Podcast

Food and drink entrepreneurs could be in the running for a share of a £160,000 prize pool at this year’s Royal Society of Chemistry Emerging Technologies Competition.

Now in its eighth year, the competition invites innovators from across the food and drink, energy, health and enabling technology industries to submit their developing technologies that have a strong chemistry component.

Successful applicants will be awarded £20,000, 12 months’ one-on-one support from a specially assigned Royal Society of Chemistry mentor, and offered a further £20,000 available as a business acceleration grant.

In this exclusive podcast, Ellen Norman, Reading Scientific Services Ltd's (RSSL’s) principal scientist, and judge at this year’s competition, spoke to Food Manufacture ​about what she believed would makes a winner in the contest.

Clarity and articulation

Clarity would be my first thought,” ​she explained. “Being able to articulate clearly what your message is and what the innovation is, what the benefits are to the people who are going to use it – whether that be that it’s going into a new food or it’s a new analysis technique.

“Understanding your market and making sure you’ve really addressed any challenges in the market, so what the threats are and then the opportunities and where you’re going to go. It’s also good to have an understanding of what the landscape is in terms of your intellectual property.”

Due to the ongoing struggle with the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Emerging Technologies Competition will be the first to be held completely online. However, entrants will still interact with the judges, who hail from some of the biggest players in the food and drink industry, including PepsiCo and Unilever.

Tackling COVID-19

Jo Reynolds, director of science and communities at the Royal Society of Chemistry, added: “Chemistry has a prominent role to play in developing solutions to COVID-19 and a wide range of pressing societal challenges. Through this competition, agile tech innovators, start-ups and spin-outs have a huge opportunity to show how they can contribute to tackling some of the critical issues facing the world today.

“Many of our highly experienced judges have been closely involved in the competition since its inception in 2013, and we are very much looking forward to seeing the creative ideas and innovations that are going to help shape the world of tomorrow.”

Entries to this year’s competition are open until 12 July, with the finalists announced in August. Applications are available through the Royal Society of Chemistry’s website.

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