Nouryon, formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, has officially launched the third edition of its “Imagine Chemistry” collaborative innovation challenge. Through this program, the company invites startups, scale-ups, university spin-outs, and other potential partners to tackle chemistry-related challenges and uncover new ways to create value for its customers.
To increase the focus on developing business opportunities from this year’s edition, Nouryon has expanded the number of Imagine Chemistry partners to include Unilever; seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds; and the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3), a collaboration that drives the commercial adoption of green chemistry.
“Innovative solutions that help our customers improve their products, become more competitive and sustainable, and uncover new business opportunities are central to how we work,” said Charlie Shaver, CEO of Nouryon. “As partnership is the key to success, we are very pleased to add more organizations to our Imagine Chemistry network, including Unilever, one of our key customers.”
For the 2019 edition of Imagine Chemistry, Nouryon is looking for solutions in the following five areas:
• Sustainable bio-based surfactants for everyone (in partnership with Unilever): Novel bio-based, non-hazardous surfactants, as well as building blocks for new surfactants
• Performance-boosting nanoparticles: Small-particle solutions that can make customers’ products more sustainable, durable, and/or functional
• Sensing in demanding chemical environments: Innovative sensing solutions to help Nouryon’s chemical processes approach 100% resource efficiency
• Label-free chemistries: Products with ingredients that require no chemical warning labeling that can safely and simultaneously control interface and fluid properties
• Pushing the frontiers of chemical innovation: An open challenge for innovative ideas on developing more sustainable chemistry
Participants can submit their ideas via a dedicated online community and receive expert feedback until 8 March 2019 when submission closes. In May 2019, 20 finalists will be invited to an intensive three-day event at the company’s RD&I center at Deventer, the Netherlands, where they will work with experts and business leaders to further develop their ideas into a joint value case.
“Imagine Chemistry stands out in the industry due to its collaborative approach. It is a platform that helps bring great innovative solutions to the next level, contributing to our customer needs,” Peter Nieuwenhuizen, Nouryon’s chief technology officer, said.
In addition to Unilever, High-Tech Gründerfonds and GC3, Imagine Chemistry is also supported by venture capital firm Icos Capital; research and advisory firm Lux Research; UK innovation agency Knowledge Transfer Network; Dutch accelerator StartupDelta; the European Commission’s Enterprise Europe Network, and S/park, the chemical technology-focused open innovation center located at Nouryon’s RD&I site in Deventer.