Graduate Start-up Chosen as Falling Walls Finalist

Alumna’s innovative water filtration method recognised by global platform for science start-ups

Congratulations to MSc Materials Chemistry alumna María Isabel Amorín Cabrera, who has reached the final of the prestigious Falling Walls Venture competition with her start-up, CrustaTec.

Falling Walls Venture is a global platform for science start-ups nominated by academic institutions from across the world. The competition recognises pioneering founders who have successfully turned science into business, proving how entrepreneurial solutions can help solve today’s most pressing challenges.

María Isabel founded CrustaTec in 2018 in her home country Guatemala. It provides an innovative water filtration method based on chitosan, a synthesized polymer made from shrimp shells that is capable of retaining the dyes used by the textile industry.

During her MSc Material Chemistry studies here at the University of Edinburgh, María won both the Scottish Institute for Enterprise Fresh Ideas award and Edinburgh Innovation Students Business Ideas Competition. The highly prestigious American Chemical Society featured CrustaTec and María Isabel ‘On our Radar’ as one of the 5 young chemistry-based firms of 2020 to watch, and the MIT Technology Review has also listed María Isabel in their ‘Innovators Under 35 MIT Technology Review’ (2020).

Maria Falling Walls

As founder of CrustaTec, I am honoured to be included among the finalists at this high-level competition and event. And happy that our ideas around the circular economy, seafood solid waste management and wastewater treatment are catching attention internationally.

I am thankful to the School of Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh for the nomination and for the trust and support that have always been demonstrated to CrustaTec.

We are keeping our fingers crossed and ready to break the wall of waste valorization and wastewater treatment.


I am delighted that María has reached the final of this prestigious competition, and wish her all the best of luck for the final round. We are immensely proud to see our graduates applying their knowledge of chemistry, research and entrepreneurial skills to create new sustainable solutions for the future.