IUPAC Announces the 2020 Top Ten Emerging Technologies in Chemistry

The International Union or Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has released the results of its 2020 search for the Top Ten Emerging Technologies in Chemistry. The goal of this project is to showcase the value of Chemistry and to inform the general public as to how the chemical sciences contribute to the well-being of Society and the sustainability of Planet Earth. Following the same guidance as it did last year, the Jury selected emerging technologies on the basis of those in between a new scientific discovery and a fully-commercialized technology, and those with the greatest capacity to open new opportunities in chemistry and beyond.

The 2020 finalists are (in alphabetical order):

• Aggregation-induced emission
• AI applied to chemistry
• Dual-ion batteries
• High-pressure inorganic chemistry
• Liquid gating technology
• Macromonomers for better plastic recycling
• Microbiome and bioactive compounds
• Nanosensors
• Rapid diagnostics for testing
• RNA vaccines

IUPAC Vice President, Professor Javier García Martínez commented that “The Top Ten Emerging Technologies in Chemistry is an effort by IUPAC to showcase how chemistry is providing solutions to our most pressing challenges. These are not just exciting discoveries but real technologies that are making a difference while solving real problems. With this initiative we hope to both inform and inspire in a time when technology is so important for our health, our environment, and our economy.”

The selected technologies will change our world for the better, making a more thoughtful use of our resources, favoring more efficient transformations, and providing more sustainable solutions in applications ranging from new materials and more efficient batteries to extremely precise sensors and personalized medicine” wrote Fernando Gomollón-Bel in a feature published in the October 2020 issue of Chemistry International outlining details of each of these technologies. (https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2020-0402)

The Jury was an international group of experts from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds who reviewed the pool of nominations, and ultimately selected the final top ten. It included: Chair, Michael Droescher (German Association for the Advancement of Science and Medicine), Javier García-Martínez (Universidad de Alicante, Spain), Ray Kookana (CSIRO Land & Water, Australia), Ken Sakai (Kyushu University, Japan), and Bernard West (Life Sciences Ontario, Canada).

The first selection of Top Ten Emerging Technologies in Chemistry was released in 2019 as a special activity in honor of IUPAC’s 100th anniversary; the results were published in April 2019 (Chemistry International, 41(2), pp. 12-17, 2019; https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2019-0203).

The next search for the Top Ten Emerging Technologies in Chemistry has already begun and will be led again by Prof. Dr. Michael Droescher, Treasurer and General Secretary of the German Association for the Advancement of Science and Medicine. Droescher served as a judge for the initial search and as chair of the Jury for the 2020 search.

For more information on the Top Ten Emerging Technologies in Chemistry, see https://iupac.org/what-we-do/top-ten/