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Åbo Akademi University research group and UPM have been awarded the Chemical Industry Federation Innovation Award

The winners of the Chemical Industry Federation Innovation Award of 2016 are a new generation of environmentally friendly and halogen-free flame retardants developed by an Åbo Akademi University research group and UPM’s GrowDex® nanocellulose hydrogel. The award was given at the Chemical Industry Federation event Kemiat kohtaavat in Helsinki on the 28 April 2016.

The Chemical Industry Federation of Finland rewards operators in the chemical industry with a 20,000-euro Innovation Award, which is granted every second year. The purpose of the award is to encourage the research and product development teams of companies, universities and research institutes to develop new chemical products and services. Focus is on big and small innovations that contribute to the well-being of people and the environment in everyday life as well as in industrial production processes. The winner is chosen by the Scientific Advisory Board of the Chemical Industry.

UPM has boldly entered an entirely new domain and, through interdisciplinary cooperation, developed the already commercialised wood-based GrowDex® nanocellulose hydrogel for 3D cell cultures and pharmaceutical research. 3D cell culture matrix that contain no materials derived from animals or humans will have a great potential in the future. The members of the award winning GrowDex team come from UPM and the University of Helsinki.  

A research group at the Department of Chemical Engineering at Åbo Akademi University has developed a new generation of efficient, environmentally friendly and halogen-free flame retardants. The flame retardants have been tested in industrial environments and optimised in cooperation with the end users. There is demand for the innovation in the construction, transport, clothing and electronic industries, and its market potential is significant.

“The high level of the entries in the innovation competition bears witness to the diverse knowledge and creativity found in the chemical industry. Chemistry is a globally growing industry and a constantly evolving natural science that unites different fields and people. Chemistry is part of a good life, says Timo Leppä, the Managing Director of the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland.


Photo by Matti Matikainen: From left Teija Tirri, Melanie Aubert and Carl-Eric Wilén, Åbo Akademi University, Pia Nilsson, UPM, Marjo Yliperttula, University of Helsinki and Kari Luukko, UPM. 




Carmela Kantor-Aaltonen, Senior Adviser, Innovations, carmela.kantor-aaltonen(at), tel. +358 50 4045 166

Susanna Aaltonen, Director, Public Affairs, susanna.aaltonen(at),
tel. +358 40 593 4221