Recognising excellence in chemical engineering research #ichemeawards

It’s Friday, and the final stage of our IChemE Global Awards winners round-up. We hope you’ve enjoyed the posts this week, and learnt a little more about each of our winners.

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Today we are shining a light on the research superstars of the Awards. IChemE has always maintained strong ties with the academic community, supporting the host of ChemEngDayUK each year and accrediting courses. We also do proactive work with our UK Research Committee, who last night launched ten chemical engineering research case studies that have had a significant impact on the UK economy. Read all about the research event, held in Parliament, here.

So, on to the winners and the final three IChemE Global Awards videos, produced in association with Morgan Sindall. All these winners have demonstrated fantastic research capability, but most importantly their studies have a real-world application that can really make a difference.

Enjoy these final three videos, and season’s greetings to all our members worldwide.

University of Birmingham develop smarter tools for diagnosing cancer

The School of Chemical Engineering at University of Birmingham have developed something that will change the lives for men all over the world. The team have designed a detection platform using a gold sensor chip to diagnose prostate cancer quickly and more effectively than ever before.

The process involves a simple blood test. Used in conjunction with the gold chip, the differences in the sugars and proteins become evident and cancer is more detectable.

10,000 men a year are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK alone. The technology developed by the researchers at Birmingham will help to detect it early on, making it easier to treat and cure.

Paula Mendes, who led the research group, was incredibly excited to win and said:

“It’s fantastic. There’s a lot of passion from myself and the group. To go back and say we won will help them to stay motivated and keep going.”

Watch her well-deserved win below:

Find more about the development of this diagnostic technology here.

Tim Walmsley flies the flag for chemical engineering research in New Zealand

The great thing about Dr Timothy Walmsley’s work is it’s all about his home country of New Zealand, and how to improve the existing industries there. His work mostly focuses on energy efficiency, and he has applied his research to New Zealand’s dairy processing sector.

Having only joined the University of Waikato’s Energy Research Centre in 2010 as an undergraduate, he is already making significant progress in his career.

But what does he think his biggest achievement is so far? Timothy says:

“I think my biggest achievement has been helping industry realise they can do things a little bit better, to save energy and improve their process.”

Watch his interview, below:

Copper enzymes may unlock the answer to better biofuels

As the production of biofuels continue to grow, the need for better catalysts also increases. Chemists from the University of York have teamed up with chemical engineers from the Centre National de la Racherche Scienntifique and Aix-Marseille Universite to develop them.

The team discovered an enzyme (created by funghi and bacteria) that is able to break down leaves, cellulose, and biomass to create liquid fuels. Using some clever chemistry, the enzyme recruits a single copper ion to break down plant materials.

So, do chemists think chemical engineering matters? Professor Paul Walton says:

“These products would not see the light of the day without chemical engineers, but most importantly the chemical engineers have worked closely with chemists and biochemists, from fundamental science all the way through to product.”

Find out more about the collaborative win below:

You can find out more about the copper-activating enzymes research here. 

Thanks for stopping by the IChemE blog this week to hear about our IChemE Global Award winners.

Season’s Greetings from the IChemE Blog Elves!


Thinking about attending, sponsoring, or entering the IChemE Global Awards 2017? Register your interest here and we’ll keep you posted with all the latest news and developments.