Media release

Nouryon’s 2019 Imagine Chemistry challenge generates ideas from 30 countries

21 Mar 2019 - News

There has been another tremendous response to the Imagine Chemistry collaborative innovation challenge of Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals). More than 160 innovative ideas from 30 countries were submitted by startups, scale-ups, university spin-outs, and other potential partners for the 2019 edition.

Imagine Chemistry, now in its third year, was launched to tackle chemistry-related challenges and uncover new ways to create value for customers. The company will now select up to 20 finalists to attend an intensive three-day event in May at its RD&I center at Deventer, the Netherlands, where they will work with Nouryon experts and business leaders to further develop their ideas into a joint value case.

“We have been overwhelmed by the number and quality of the submissions,” said Peter Nieuwenhuizen, Chief Technology Officer at Nouryon. “We have also been impressed by the geographical breadth of submissions, which include 28 entries from China, 25 from the US, 18 from the UK, among others.”

The 2019 edition of Imagine Chemistry set challenges in the following five areas:

  • Sustainable bio-based surfactants (in partnership with Unilever)
  • Performance-boosting nanoparticles
  • Sensing in demanding chemical environments
  • Label-free chemistries
  • Pushing the frontiers of chemical innovation


The challenge is a key part of Nouryon’s even greater focus on innovation, Nieuwenhuizen said. “We believe in the power of innovation and collaboration to drive growth and create sustainable solutions for our customers. Our Imagine Chemistry program helps bring innovative solutions to the next level and helps us better meet our customers’ needs.”

This year’s edition of Imagine Chemistry is supported by Unilever, China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF), seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds, venture capital firm Icos Capital, research and advisory firm Lux Research, multi-stakeholder collaboration Green Chemistry & Commerce Council, UK innovation agency Knowledge Transfer Network, Brazilian content portal Startupi, 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.

Read Peter Nieuwenhuizen’s thoughts on how Nouryon’s even greater focus on innovation links to Imagine Chemistry.


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