Inspirational people and talented teams drive innovation to improve lives, advance science and revolutionise industry

Innovation lies at the heart of science. It is through innovations in fields such as chemistry, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology that companies can develop the life-saving medicines or the materials and chemicals that are essential for our everyday lives.

Behind every great invention and scientific advancement is the combination of a great idea and an inspired, talented team of people who can nurture and refine the spark of creativity and, crucially, translate it to an industrial scale. This endeavour is highly collaborative and everyone plays an integral role in the journey from idea to product. They are all innovators. 

Fifty years ago, the stereotypical chemist wore a white lab coat and spent their days stuck under a fume hood. And while bench work remains a part of today’s chemistry research environment, technology and interdisciplinary practice has changed not only the role of the chemist but also the landscape of innovation. It spans disciplines and countries, uses a range of techniques and technologies, and needs to be agile and open-minded to respond to increasingly complex global challenges. 

In this third digital supplement Chemistry World and Notch Communications have sought to highlight the innovators within some of the largest chemistry and biotechnology companies in the world. In so doing, we have found innovators, both veteran and emerging, whose scientific research is delivering innovations for future generations.

Following our inaugural digital supplement on technology for health and our second issue on green and sustainable chemistry, we have leveraged our industrial contacts to identify the innovators in the chemical industry and share their stories. 

From Johnson Matthey, we hear from four of the young innovators who began working for the company within the past five years and are now involved in advancing scientific discoveries to enhance life. PerkinElmer provided us with insights into their mass spectrometry instruments and how these characterisation methods are being applied to identify fraudulent food. We also organised a roundtable discussion within Umicore on metathesis catalysis chemistry. Our partners at Arcinova in the north-east of England discussed the innovations they bring in continuous manufacture chemistry.

There are still many aspects of chemical research to highlight. We are beginning to work on our fourth collection - chemistry detectives - that will highlight companies and scientists who use chemistry to find evidence, solve interesting problems and uncover the truth. If you, your team or your company are chemistry detectives and would like to contribute to the next issue, please get in touch. We’d love to tell your story.