Fresh Strips wins the 2017 Gouden KIEM competition

7 December 2017

Wednesday 6 December 2017, a team from Fresh Strips and Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) received the Gouden KIEM award. Each year, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Top Sector Chemistry and InnovationLink award the Gouden KIEM to the best chemical start-up. The prize, which consists of a sculpture and the sum of 25,000 euros for a research project, was awarded during the CHAINS Chemistry conference.

Photo: Thijs ter Hart

The three finalists were Fresh Strips, Boostani and Plantics. Prior to the award ceremony, a short film was shown in which the winner presented their company. The winner also had the unexpected pleasure of receiving a special video message from Prince Constantijn, the ambassador of StartupDelta.

The Prince expressed the hope that Fresh Strips will grow rapidly, to promote innovation in the chemical materials sector in the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Gouden KIEM jury

This year’s jury consisted of Prof. Floris Rutjes (Radboud University), Dr Peter Berben (BASF), Mr Leon Joore (Millvision), Dr Cristianne Rijcken (Cristal Therapeutics) and Mr Jan Kolijn (TUSTI).

The jury was struck by the three start-ups’ enthusiasm, and by their innovative ideas. They awarded the Gouden KIEM to the company that, in the jury’s view, represented the most potent combination of a strong product with social impact, a talented young team with complementary expertise, and a thorough understanding of the competition.

The Gouden KIEM competition has been staged each year since 2014. It is open to companies in the chemical sector that were founded no more than three years previously, and that originated in a university or university of applied sciences. The Gouden KIEM competition is funded by the NWO’s Science domain, the Top Sector Chemistry, and InnovatieLink.

Finalists in the picture:

Fresh Strips (TU/e): liquid crystalline material used as a sensor to monitor the freshness of food
This sensor consists of a sticker to which a thin film (containing this liquid crystalline material and other substances) is applied. This sticker is inexpensive to produce and easy to apply to a wide variety of fresh food packaging. If the food is exposed to higher temperatures for too long, the sticker irreversibly changes colour, from green to red. A standard scale can then be used to check whether the product is still sufficiently fresh. In addition to its use in food safety, the company also sees potential applications for this product in the pharmaceutical industry. Here, the margins are much bigger, but the regulations are very strict.

Boostani (Maastricht University): more fully recyclable plastic packaging
Boostani makes plastic packaging more fully recyclable by developing methods to produce plastics with better properties. This would render today’s layered plastic packaging – which is difficult to recycle – unnecessary. Boostani is researching ways of improving the properties of commonly used plastics, such as polyethylene and polypropylene, through the use of nanoparticle additives. By varying these additives, and the combinations of such additives, the company hopes to create a new monolayer plastic with the same properties (in terms of permeability) as the layered packaging materials in use today.

Plantics (University of Amsterdam): ‘biodegradable’ Plantics-GX polymer as a versatile plastic for materials
Plantics wants to market its patented Plantics-GX polymer, which is both ‘bio-based’ and ‘biodegradable’. This polymer has a wide range of potential applications, in consumer products and construction materials, for example. In addition to numerous potential applications, the polymer has a very competitive production price.

Watch a video of the three finalists.

More information about the Gouden KIEM can be found at


Source: NWO