essenscia Innovation Award

essenscia Innovation Award 2022

With record investments of 5.6 billion euros in R&D in 2020, no less than 422 patents granted, and more than 11,000 people working in an R&D-related activities or R&D departments, the chemical, plastics, and life sciences sector is the innovation champion in Belgium.

To honor this innovation-oriented mindset and to highlight breakthrough technologies and products, essenscia is launching the fifth edition of the Innovation Award.

Through this prestigious prize, the most important prize for industrial innovation in Belgium, we intend to put leading innovation projects in the spotlight. We also want to encourage Belgian companies and organizations to innovate even more, and to protect their intellectual assets.


Why participate?

  • The essenscia Innovation Award is a unique opportunity for all participants to gain visibility within the broad innovation network of essenscia, both at academic and industrial level.
  • The nominees as well as the winner will benefit from an extended media coverage. Articles about their innovation projects will be featured in special essenscia Innovation Award editions in leading media.
  • Moreover a video dedicated to their innovations will be produced to highlight their projects during the essenscia Innovation Award ceremony, in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid.
  • Participating start-ups and SMEs can benefit from the support of the essenscia Patent Cell to define a strategy to protect their intellectual property
  • The winner will be awarded a prize of 30,000 euros.
Discover more in Dutch or French.

The essenscia Innovation Award ceremony will take place on October 18, 2022 in Square Brussels.
Participating companies will receive a personal invitation to attend the award ceremony.

Wall of Fame

Emulco & BASF
Breakthrough technology in the field of polyisobutene Finalists: Nanocyl & Lippens Paints, Promethera Biosciences, Proviron, Total R&D Feluy
Discover more in Dutch or French.
Agfa Graphics
New generation of low-migration inks
Finalists: Airopack, Eurogentec, Proviron, Recticel, Realco and Taminco
Discover more in Dutch or French.
Candidate vaccine against shingles
Finalists: BASF, Evonik, IRE ELiT, Mithra Pharmaceuticals and Qpinch
Discover more in Dutch or French.
New generation contraceptive pill
Finalists: Beaulieu, Eastman, Eurogentec, Janssen Pharmaceutica and Kaneka
Discover more in Dutch or French.

Presentation of the Jury

François Cornélis

President of the Innovation Fund for Chemistry & Life Sciences and former Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee of Total – President of the Jury

Véronique Halloin

Secretary-General of the Fund for Scientific Research – FNRS

Silvia Lenaerts

Professor and Vice-Rector Valorisation & Development of University of Antwerp

Piet Vandendriessche

CEO of Deloitte Belgium

Yves Verschueren

Managing Director of essenscia

Participation Rules

  1. Access to the competition is open to all industrial companies operating in Belgium including member and non-member companies of essenscia. The competition is also open to start-ups, and multi-partner innovation projects
  2. The proposed innovation project must have a clear link with chemistry, life sciences or materials.
  3. The proposed innovation project must demonstrate its contribution towards sustainable development. It must address a societal challenge and be future-oriented.
  4. The proposed innovation project should demonstrate its fit within a strategy for intellectual property management. Patent filing, trademark registration, brand protection, confidentiality agreement will be considered during the assessment of the projects.
  5. The proposed innovation project should preferably have an industrial application in Belgium or be able to demonstrate its value generation towards the Belgian economy.
  6. The proposal must contain the following information in a maximum of 5 pages:
    • an abstract
    • a description of the innovation, its unique character and its proof of concept
    • its contribution towards sustainable development
    • its intellectual property strategy
    • its contribution to the Belgian economy (investment, employment, know-how)
  7. The proposals shall be submitted in English using the application form or by e-mail to
  8. The Jury will consider all valid applications and run a selection process on a confidential basis. No information will be shared with the outside world without the explicit consent of the submitters.
  9. The composition of the Jury is: François Cornélis, Véronique Halloin, Silvia Lenaerts, Piet Vandendriessche and Yves Verschueren. The deliberations of the Jury will be secret and held confidential. The decisions of the Jury are not open for discussion.
  10. The winning project will be awarded a lump sum of 30,000 euros.

The proposals must be submitted by June 15, 2022 at the latest.

The essenscia Patent Cell at your service

The protection of innovation is a key factor to the successful development and commercialization of an innovation project. The Patent Cell created in 2011 by essenscia in partnership with the Federal Public Service Economy is therefore closely related to the essenscia Innovation Award as it intends to boost the protection of intellectual assets in the sector.

For SMEs without a well-defined IP strategy for their innovation projects, the essenscia Patent Cell offers support under the form of free consultancy in collaboration with an external partner. This offer is based on a first come, first served basis and is limited to the 10 first applicants.

To benefit from this support, we invite you to submit your request before February 15, 2022 to: