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ISC3 Innovation Challenge 2023, Sustainable Chemistry and Agriculture [First Stage]



ISC3 Innovation Challenge 2023, Sustainable Chemistry and Agriculture [First Stage]

The ISC3 Innovation Challenge 2023 has the topic 'Sustainable Chemistry and Agriculture' !

We are looking for Innovators and their Sustainable Chemistry solutions that benefit Agriculture!

You are adressing this topic with your Start-up? Then apply for the next ISC3 Innovation Challenge.

The current fourth Innovation Challenge addresses innovators developing solutions 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 (incl. CO2 sequestration)
  • Nutrient recovery in soil, plants, feedstocks, products, etc. (such as secondary nutrients in plants, e.g.)
  • 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 /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, etc.
  • Solutions fostering reduced externalized costs (biodiversity loss, drinking water pollution, soil compaction, erosion, etc.)

Applications are organized in two stages and open from December 15th, 2023; 0:00 a.m. CET.

First stage application deadline by April 3rd, 2023; 0:00 a.m. CEST.

Innovations targeting the development of genetically modified seeds, GMO crops etc. are explicitly excluded from the scope of this challenge.

Submission of proposals

The submission of proposals will follow a 2-stage procedure. First stage submissions include an online template which asks for a brief description of the innovation, the business perspectives and the innovators team. Eligible submissions will be invited to the second stage, in which more detailed information must be provided.

Eligible participants

Eligible are all innovators and entrepreneurs, i.e., persons owning or representing the proposed innovation, employed by organisations including research institutes, start-ups, small-medium sized enterprises, or comparable institutions active in the development and realisation of sustainable chemistry solutions. Enterprises participating in the challenge shall have a staff headcount not exceeding 50 (full time equivalent) and an annual turnover of max. 10 million Euro. Enterprises majority-owned by large enterprises are not eligible for the award, except for innovations leading to the creation of independent spin-offs.Proposals submitted by innovators and entrepreneurs from developing countries and tackling challenges in developing countries are considered as particularly important. Female entrepreneurs are specifically encouraged to submit a proposal.


The proposals will be assessed against the three main criteria:

  • Innovation level. Is the innovation unique, distinct, and truly original?
  • Business viability. What is the market potential of the innovation? Is the idea commercially feasible?
  • Sustainability. What is the sustainability impact of the innovation?

What to expect?

Five finalists will receive:

  • Tailored support: access to Global Start-up Service Customised Support
  • Visibility: promotion of your innovation via ISC3 communication channels
  • Cash prizes: the overall Innovation Challenge Winner will receive a cash prize of 15,000 EUR.
  • The two separate categories 'Best Social Impact' and 'Best Regional Impact' are endowed with cash prizes amounting to 5,000 EUR each.


Launch of the new 2023 Innovation Challenge: December 15th, 2022
First stage application deadline by April 3rd, 2023; 0:00 a.m. CEST.
Jury Evaluation: June 1st – July 9th, 2023
Finalist announcements: after July 15th, 2023
Finalist pitch training: September 2023
Innovation Challenge Award Ceremony: scheduled for autumn/winter 2023, date and location of the venue will be announced via

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