Imagine Chemistry Competition Returns For Third Year

Jan. 15, 2019
Nouryon partners with Unilever, investment companies and startup networks to accelerate innovation in chemistry.

Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals) launches the third edition of its Imagine Chemistry collaborative innovation challenge. 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 customers. To increase the focus on developing business opportunities from this year’s edition, Nouryon expands 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.

For the 2019 edition of Imagine Chemistry, Nouryon is looking for solutions in 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 March 8, 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.

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.

For more information, visit

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