LAUNCH: Smarter Chemistry

The LAUNCH Chemistry Innovation Challenge 2016 is a global call for innovators, entrepreneurs, companies, and organizations to enable predictive design through innovative applications of data in chemistry.

Together with the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute, Estée Lauder, NIKE, Inc. and additional partner organizations, LAUNCH is looking for innovators and companies who make chemistry smarter by generating data, making data more accessible, analyzing the data or applying data in ways that move chemistry towards predictive design-based discovery.

Imagine the potential of being able to design high-performing, greener chemicals and chemistries as easily as we can develop new software today. What if we were able to accurately predict function from a chemical structure, to have a complete understanding of the life-cycle of that molecule from the moment it was conceptualized and synthesized?

We believe that the future of chemistry is smart, data-rich and data-driven. Smart Chemistry will serve as a launch pad for a new generation of invention, allowing innovators to more effectively hack our physical world. By reaching this future sooner, we can accelerate progress on eliminating toxicity and creating materials that have yet to be imagined.

The LAUNCH team and partners are excited to announce the five LAUNCH: Smarter Chemistry Innovators:

ViridisChem: Software products that offer toxicity analysis of most chemicals, identify better alternatives, and pinpoint where process improvements can be made.

Environmental Genome Project: Mapping the Global Web of Chemicals and Materials: A database that links to analytics aimed at improving public health and product manufacturing.

Snapdragon Chemistry: Flow reactor systems which use computer algorithms to auto-optimization chemical manufacturing processes.

Dow Cheminformatics: A mechanistic database of acute toxicity data for use in predictive safety assessments and sustainable chemistry development.

Wiley Science Solutions: Computer-aided synthesis design (CASD) software that helps chemists design efficient syntheses of molecules.


ENABLING SMART CHEMISTRY: How can advances in data generation, access, integration, analysis and application accelerate a shift towards more sustainable molecules, mixtures, and materials?

The 2016 LAUNCH Chemistry Innovation Challenge is a global call for innovators, entrepreneurs, companies and organizations to enable predictive chemical design through innovative applications of data in chemistry. We are seeking data-oriented prototypes proven technologies, and businesses with the potential to scale and disrupt the chemistry status quo. All aspects of chemistry are in play - hazard prediction, toxicology data for molecules, mixtures, and materials, supply chain data, synthetic design, reaction analytics, and predictive design are all important parts of this challenge.

This challenge closed for submission on November 10th, 2016.


Phase 1

Application Period

Timeframe: August 9 - November 10, 2016


Phase 2

Application Review

November 11th - November 30th, 2016


Phase 3

Announcement of Winners (5 to 8 innovators)

January 18th, 2017


March 2nd-3rd, 2017


In May, 2016, LAUNCH gathered 30 subject matter experts from industry, academia and NGOs for a full-day Big Think - a multidisciplinary forum to discuss the barriers and opportunities to positively transforming the system of chemistry. Seven key areas of need were identified: Business Models, Data, Design, Education, Testing, Transparency, and Manufacturing.

LAUNCH Chemistry is releasing a series of global innovation challenges to address these areas, thereby building an ecosystem of solvers to advance the wider system of chemistry. Inspired by and in service of the U.S. Materials Genome Initiative (MGI)*, LAUNCH Chemistry is working to break down barriers to innovation, catalyzing a richer data ecosystem to accelerate a new model for chemical production and use. Specifically, LAUNCH Chemistry supports the following goals of MGI:

  • Leading a culture shift in materials-science research to encourage and facilitate an integrated team approach
  • Integrating experiment, computation, and theory and equipping the materials community with advanced tools and techniques
  • Making digital data accessible
LAUNCH is a network-centered innovation platform founded in 2009 by NASA, NIKE, Inc., the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State to identify and foster breakthrough ideas for a more sustainable world. LAUNCH aims to move beyond incremental change and make an impact at a systemic level.


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