University of Oxford and SCG Chemicals launch £1m SCGC-FIRST fund to accelerate sustainable technology development and help decarbonise the chemicals industry

Tuesday 7th Nov 2023, 4.51pm

The SCGC Fund for Innovation and Research in Sustainability and Technology (SCGC-FIRST), opens today. The SCGC-FIRST will be administered by the University of Oxford and will run for four years initially, supporting innovative research and translation projects that support SCGC’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives.  

The SCG has a long and rich history of collaboration with the University, and the launch of SCGC-FIRST strengthens those connections. For a long time now, SCG has been collaborating with us to help keep sustainable innovation at the heart of its business strategy. This new fund will help us to unearth some of the most impactful ESG ideas the University has to offer and catapult them into being by harnessing SCG’s know-how.

Professor Chas Bountra
, Pro Vice Chancellor for Innovation, University of Oxford

 Specifically, the new fund will seek applications across the University from projects that demonstrate distinct advantages over competing approaches already available in the marketplace, or those that offer opportunities for adapting existing approaches for use in the chemicals industry. Projects that demonstrate potential and impact may be eligible for further follow-on funding from SCG. 

SCG’s relationship with the University of Oxford goes back a decade, to when the SCG-Oxford Centre of Excellence was formed in the Department of Chemistry in 2012. The story of this collaboration can be found here. 

SCGC-FIRST will be overseen at Oxford by Professor Dermot O’Hare, Director at the SCG-Oxford Centre of Excellence. He said: ‘The breadth and depth of innovative sustainability research at Oxford spans all four of our academic divisions, and collectively, we are committed to harnessing this expertise to respond, at pace, to the pressing climate change challenge. SCGC-FIRST will enable us to accelerate disruptive sustainability-focused breakthroughs whilst strengthening our engagement with SCG to assist them in realising their ambitious ESG goals.’ 

Roongrote Rangsiyopash, Chief Executive Officer of SCG said: ‘SCG takes its commitment to the environment and sustainability seriously. We are committed to supporting the decarbonisation of the global chemicals industry. While we see our work as essential in empowering our customers to build the world and economy of today, we must balance that with the world and the economy we leave for our children, and the pressing need to respond to climate change. Our strengthened partnership with Oxford will help us to address that balance and mitigate our impact, and aid us in constructing the sustainable world of tomorrow.’

Broad areas of research that fall within the scope of SCGC-FIRST funding include:  

Energy and carbon reduction  

  • Carbon neutrality through reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, carbon capture, storage and utilisation, and emissions monitoring  
  • Low cost, low carbon footprint hydrogen production 
  • Materials for environmental sustainability 
  • Sustainable supply chains and logistics 
  • Novel approaches to utilisation of energy sources 
  • Sustainable finance and carbon accounting tools for decision-making 

Environmental impacts 

  • Water and energy reduction, recovery, and reuse; wastewater and effluent treatment prior to discharge 

Future plastics 

  • Circular economy of plastics: up-cycling of polymer materials and the creation of markets 
  • New materials for sustainable outcomes 
  • Client and consumer behaviour and novel interventions to influence change 


There is also an open call, through SCGC-FIRST, for applications on any topic of innovation relevant to SCGC but not covered in the topics listed above. 

You can find out more about the SCGC-FIRST fund and apply through the SCG-Oxford Centre of Excellence. Applications will be accepted until 20 December 2023.