A research team from our Department of Chemistry and Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies has received international recognition after their Smartwound dressing was named as a winner in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition 2018.

The team, based in the Department of Chemistry, received the award thanks to their work on developing their intelligent wound dressing which changes colour as a wound becomes infected with pathogenic criteria, winning the health category.

They will receive tailored business support from the competition’s multinational partner companies, as well as business training and media support – in addition to a cash prize of £10,000.

Professor Toby Jenkins, Smartwound’s principal investigator, said: “I think we have a very simple but very cost-effective technology, that could really make a difference to real people in the real world, in terms of diagnosing infection quickly and easily. It's simple and cheap – and maybe a little bit clever!”

To win, the team at Smartwound had to pitch their idea to a panel of expert judges at Chemistry Means Business on Monday 15 October, an event which celebrates and recognises the most innovative companies in the country.

Joint winner of the category was the University of Birmingham and its polycarbonate resin inks for printing shape-changing medical devices.

Aurora Antemir, Head of Industry at the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “Being named winner is no mean feat. As one of only 39 companies shortlisted across four categories, getting to the final stage in itself is a significant achievement.”

As well as highlighting the innovations presented at the awards, Chemistry Means Business connects start-ups SMEs and academic entrepreneurs with multinationals across the UK and Europe.

Previous winners have gone on to raise a combined £31m in investment and grant funding, collectively doubled employee numbers and attracted licence deals and significant international expansion. Some have gone on to be acquired, with winners securing trade sales of £28 million, while previous 'One to Watch' winner, Ziylo, was recently acquired in a £623million deal.

Aurora continued: “Winning is a terrific opportunity for Smartwound, having proved to be a fantastic springboard for several previous winners.”

The Emerging Technology Awards has previously seen university groups spin out in to promising businesses, and companies expand overseas, enter commercial contracts and conduct industrial scale trials.

The success of the competition owes a great deal to its partners, chemistry-using multinationals who share a passion for innovation and collaboration. They provide support to the winners in a number of ways, including strategy reviews, product testing, and introducing them to new networks.