Open Labs Brazil

Open Labs Brazil

Enabling Access to R&D Equipment

The role of Green and Sustainable Chemistry innovators developing new materials, products processes and business models is key to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The sharing-economy pilot project “Open Labs Brazil” (OLB) was launched in spring 2021 and aimed at promoting Sustainable Chemistry solutions by granting changemakers better access to scientific infrastructure and technical support. In cooperation with the SENAI Institutes’ bioeconomy platform, the ISC3 launched an ideas contest open to start-ups in the field of Sustainable Chemistry.

Scientist working in lab. Doctors making medical research. Biotechnology, chemistry, science, experiments and healthcare concept. Day light and window background.

In order to scale their innovations and eventually bring them to market, access to laboratory infrastructure, scientific knowledge and technical support as well as business support are crucial. While they are necessary to further explore innovative solutions in the field of chemistry, it is often difficult to get access to the required research and development (R&D) equipment. Even though much of said costly equipment is underutilised, access to it becomes a bottleneck for start-ups which often translates into insurmountable barriers to entry in the field of chemistry. In order to overcome this barrier, OLB facilitated the sharing of laboratory infrastructure and pushed sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship ahead. Moreover, it acted as proof of concept that the sharing economy, which favours using over owning (Ranjibari et al 2018), is also practicable when it comes to R&D. By providing these resources, the OLB encouraged entrepreneurial scientists to pursue their ideas and gave them the opportunity to scale them via lab research.

After the application period, which was open from April 1st, 2021 to July 27th, 2021, applicants were evaluated by a jury along criteria ranging from sustainability, innovation and market potential.

From this process, nine finalists emerged, who were granted access to dedicated workshops, given international visibility via SENAI and the ISC3 communication channels and further start-up support incentives as part of our Global Start-up Service. The winners of the OLB ideas contest were granted access to laboratory spaces and equipment at the SENAI institutes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Open Labs Brazil programme was aimed at enabling Brazilian innovators to work on new business ideas and models. For more detailed information on the finalists, winners and the prizes, find the corresponding press release here.

If you are interested in the topic, you can find a Factsheet called "Sharing Economy for Sustainable Chemistry" that shows how we introduced a system for faster, easier and affordable access to lab infrastructure and services in Brazil.