Innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses sought for chemistry challenge

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2016 — A coalition of public and private institutions, including the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute (GCI), is requesting entries for the 2016 LAUNCH Chemistry Innovation Challenge. The challenge seeks new solutions developed by innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses that advance smart, data-driven chemistry.

 “We’ve seen how the data revolution has transformed the way we think about economies, markets, genetics and our planet,” says Todd Khozein, co-founder of LAUNCH. “I’m excited to see what we can find in chemistry so we can enable an entire generation of manufacturing that sees deeply into the future of the things they will make.”

In addition to ACS GCI, the challenge is supported by LAUNCH and NIKE Inc. The purpose of the challenge is to accelerate sustainable chemistries by spurring innovation in four areas: data generation, access, integration, as well as analysis and application.

“Innovation in smarter chemistry will support our goals of reducing our environmental impacts, creating high-performance materials and ultimately working toward a closed-loop future,” said Cyrus Wadia, Ph.D., vice president of Sustainable Business & Innovation at NIKE Inc. “Breakthroughs in our industry often require the application of new technologies and ideas, and we believe advances in how we generate and use data have the potential to positively transform our business while allowing us to collaborate more effectively with other companies and organizations.”

Submissions are due by Oct. 31. The challenge will give participants the opportunity to have their proposals reviewed by experts in the LAUNCH Chemistry community and to present their work to a world-class network of industry pioneers, government organizations, investors and innovation experts.

Winning innovators will be announced in Jan. 2017. Winners will be publicly recognized by industry leaders and will obtain ongoing acceleration through mentoring, in-kind support, financial support to attend an in-person LAUNCH Forum and access to the LAUNCH Chemistry community.

“Accurate and complete data are essential in moving science and engineering forward,” says David Constable, Ph.D., director of the ACS GCI. “Chemists and engineers have only a partial data set available to do things like predict molecular properties and avoid potential hazards. Through this challenge, we are hoping to generate new ways of thinking about collecting, curating, visualizing, sharing and applying key data to help solve the grand challenges of sustainability,” Constable adds.

Since 2010, LAUNCH has harnessed the power of collective innovation. Powered by SecondMuse and founded by NASA, NIKE Inc., the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State, LAUNCH is building a more sustainable world by fostering breakthrough ideas. LAUNCH has sourced and supported life-changing, sustainable solutions in water, health, energy, materials and waste. Hundreds of innovators have accepted the challenge, and to date, over 80 innovators have been accelerated by LAUNCH, collectively receiving some $95 million in funding.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly 157,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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