ICIS Innovation Awards 2024

15 October 2024
The Savoy Hotel | London

Become a judge 

Entries for the ICIS Innovation Awards are judged by a specially chosen panel of leading industry experts, all with a keen interest in innovation. They are looking for innovative projects that solve problems and provide solutions for companies, their customers and society at large, as well as benefiting the environment and progressing sustainability.



Meet the 2024 judges 

Will Beacham

 Head of the judging panel 
Deputy Editor, ICIS Chemical Business

Will Beacham is Deputy Editor of ICIS Chemical Business, the weekly e-magazine which provides a digest of important industry news and trends. Will has worked in editorial roles for ICIS since 2000 and hosts the weekly ICIS Think Tank podcast on European and global chemical industry trends. He has chaired the ICIS Innovation Awards judging panel since 2019.

Armand Ajdari 

 Chief Technology Officer Arkema Group, Arkema

Armand AJDARI started his carrier in academia at the French CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), after graduating from Ecole Polytechnique and a PhD in Theoretical Physics. He worked on diverse topics at the interface between physics, chemistry, biology and fluid mechanics, with more than 130 papers in international peer-reviewed journals. He lead a CNRS labs at ESPCI in Paris, taught graduate courses in a few institutions, consulted for a few industrial corporations, and spent twice a year as visiting scientist at Harvard and MIT.

In 2007 he joined the Saint-Gobain group where he held various R&D management positions, including Senior VP R&D for the Innovative Materials division (Flat Glass, Abrasives, Ceramics, Performance Plastics, Glass textiles), and EVP R&D for the Saint-Gobain group.
Since Jan 2022 he is CTO of the Arkema Group (Advanced Materials, Coating solutions, Adhesives). 

Adrian Higson

 Managing Director, NNFCC

Adrian Higson is NNFCC's Managing Director. He is also NNFCC’s Lead Consultant for Biobased products. He is a chartered chemist with over 20 years’ research and consulting experience within the chemical and biobased products industry. Whether a market analysis, sustainability appraisal or a business options study, Adrian takes a ‘solutions based’ approach to each study; working with the client to ensure the right questions are asked and ensuring project outputs are aligned with client expectations and desired outcomes.

Dr Ute Schick

Senior Vice President Research, Development and Innovation, Evonik

Ute studied chemistry at the universities of Tübingen, Göttingen, Bonn, and Barcelona and holds a diploma and PhD. She is a global executive business leader and entrepreneur with 20 years of global P&L responsibility, 15 years of executive / general management, and 3 years of R & D experience. Her track record includes successful CEO/GM or similar positions of highly profitable, innovative global business areas in Food, Health, Cosmetic Industry, and Material Science. She has strong international experience and innovation background, as well as in acquisitions and integrations of diverse high profitable businesses as well as large capital investments. She is a market-focused executive with a history of driving revenue, profit, quality, and performance improvements in turbulent and fast-moving/ growth environments. Ute is a recognized builder of high-performance global teams with diverse backgrounds at every stage from vision through strategic processes and tactical execution.

Dr Daniel Witthaut

Executive Director Innovation, Cefic

Dr. Daniel Witthaut joined Cefic in September 2021 as a secondee from Evonik and is assuming the role of  Executive Director Innovation. 

Daniel has 20 years of professional experience with Evonik incl. several Leadership functions in the area of Innovation, New Business Development, Controlling and Strategy. He has worked in different areas of the chemical industry and lived in the USA, Singapore and China. 

Daniel holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Münster (Germany) and a Master of Business Administration of the University of Chicago.

Ashley Byford-Bates 

Chief Content Officer, ICIS Product Management 

Ashley joined ICIS in 2016 after spending three years at Reuters, leading Product and Strategy. He is a problem solver and mentor, with a passion for Product and innovation with over 20 years working supporting digital and data transformation within the business intelligence space.

He is a keen photographer and loves cycling and paddle boarding. Ashley is also a former member of the Territorial Army. What gets him out of bed every morning? Usually, one of his four children demanding breakfast.