Since the transformation of the chemical sector plays a key role towards achieving most of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the ISC3 Innovation Challenge intends to attract, award and promote Sustainable Chemistry innovators and their original solutions.
The fourth Innovation Challenge 2023 calls for innovations in the field of sustainable chemistry and agriculture with the following subtopics:
- Fertilizers: efficient use of organic and inorganic fertilizers; avoidance of over-fertilization with potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus; supply and use of alternative fertilizers and further solutions for replenishing soil fertility and maintaining or re-establishing soil health (including CO2 sequestration)
- Nutrient recovery in soil, plants, feedstocks, products, and so on (such as secondary nutrients in plants)
- Precision farming: use of digitalisation and automation for resource efficient farming; point application of fertilizers, pesticides and water
- Crop protection: production and use of natural biocides and biopesticides; benign substitutes for pesticides; biocide leasing as business model
- Water: Intelligent water supply; water harvesting, avoidance of water contamination with fertilizers
- Renewable energy and agriculture: use for desalination to provide fresh water; ammonia synthesis with green hydrogen
- Valorisation of agricultural waste: circularity approaches in agriculture
- Shelf-life extension solutions for fruits, vegetables, seeds, and so on
- Solutions fostering reduced externalized costs (biodiversity loss, drinking water pollution, soil compaction, erosion, and so on)
Innovations targeting the development of genetically modified seeds, GMO crops, and so on, are explicitly excluded from the scope of this challenge.
Applications are organized in two stages. First stage application deadline by April 3rd, second stage application deadline by May 31st, 2023.
Finalists selected by the international jury after second stage of the application procedure will receive access to the customized support within the ISC3 Global Start-up Service as well as pitch training, networking possibilities and visibility via the ISC3 communication channels.
The ISC3 Global Start-up Service is the world's first program to offer comprehensive support to innovators in sustainable chemistry. The unique program supports start-ups based on their needs and provides direct access to talent, experts and stakeholders, bringing relevant stakeholders together to find the right solutions.
The winner of the Innovation Challenge 2023 will be awarded a monetary prize of 15,000 EUR. In addition, the winners of two further categories, namely "Best Social Impact" and "Best Regional Impact", will receive monetary prizes of 5,000 EUR each.
Proposals submitted by innovators and entrepreneurs from the global South, and proposals tackling challenges in developing countries are particularly encouraged, as are proposals coming from female entrepreneurs. After the proposal evaluation period (June 1 – July 9, 2023), the finalists will be officially announced after July 15, 2023. The Innovation Challenge Award Ceremony will be held in autumn 2023.