For the second in our new blog and video series, Your career in chemical engineering, we spoke to Joe Agnew, Kit Wayne Chew and Olivia Sweeney to understand how they got to where they are now in their career.
The early career engineers also share practical tips for those currently at the start of their career who are looking for roles, as well as why they enjoy their roles in chemical processes, microalgae research and lecturing, and plastics recycling, respectively.
What is a just transition and how does it affect chemical engineers?
There are many definitions of a “just transition” online, all with a similar theme in equally supporting workers in high carbon intensive industries to move into new lines of work, and the communities and economies they serve.
The Chemical Engineer looks at this in depth in two recent feature articles. In the first, reporter Amanda Doyle explains what the energy transition is and why it must be fair for workers in high carbon industries, while the second article analyses a survey of oil and gas workers, revealing how the energy transition affects them and what they feel could be done to support them.
In December 2015, IChemE Fellow Stefaan Simons attended COP21 in Paris. Six years later he is in Glasgow for COP26 and shares his experiences of attending the pivotal climate change conference, explaining the progress IChemE has made with respect to climate change during that time.
If you’re graduating or at an early stage in your career, finding the sector and job that will set you onto your career path may feel daunting given the diverse opportunities available in chemical engineering.
This six-part blog and video series, Your career in chemical engineering, gives an insight into how 18 of our members got to where they are in their career today, the key engineering skills that have helped them succeed and practical tips for job hunting.
For this blog, we spoke to recent graduates Emma Claxton, Nikita Javale and Robyn Mayne for more on their experiences in pharmaceuticals, energy and dairy, respectively.
Finding a job that truly motivates you can feel incredibly challenging and perhaps out of reach.
Whether that’s at the start of your career to set you on your journey, or throughout your career as you may wish to explore a different sector or move through career levels to more managerial roles, where do you start?
Advancing heterogeneous catalysis and boosting collaboration between academics and industry to create solutions that benefit society was something the late Professor Syd Andrew was enthusiastic about.
In his passing, the IChemE Fellow and distinguished expert in the field of catalysis left a fund to support future generations of chemical engineers in the field. In commemoration, IChemE set up the Andrew Legacy.
It comprises of the Andrew Medal to recognise major contribution in the field, and the Andrew Fellowship to support researchers in heterogeneous catalysis – read about the latest recipients recently announced by IChemE. Additionally, in 2019, IChemE’s Board of Trustees agreed to a proposal to fund a promising PhD student at the University of Bath through a Andrew Student Fellowship.
Claire-Louise Woodward was the lucky winner of the Andrew Student Fellowship and will receive IChemE funding throughout her four-year research project. So, we decided to catch up with her after almost one year into her fellowship.
Following the identification of the Learned Society’s priority topics earlier in the year, IChemE has launched a new website area to focus on Responsible Production, Major Hazards Management and Digitalisation.
We caught up with Alexandra Meldrum to find out more.
As we develop plans to promote the contributions of IChemE and chemical engineering to help mitigate climate change on a worldwide stage, in this blog Claire MacLeod, of IChemE’s Learned Society Committee Responsible Production Working Group, urges members to get involved.
As green leaves appearing on trees signal the start of spring in the UK, it’s also the time for a new role for IChemE member Chris Dodds; bringing a fresh perspective to the future of chemical engineering education and research.
Across the globe today, scores of people will be marking Earth Day (22 April) under this year’s theme, Restore our Earth.
While there is so much more to be done to help tackle climate change and prevent further environmental disasters, it’s also important to recognise the achievements of those who are working on extremely important regeneration and restoration initiatives, as well as creating sustainable processes and educational programmes to enhance the life of our planet and all living things upon it.
So, we caught up with three of our winners from the IChemE Malaysia Awards 2020 to learn more about how their award-winning projects are helping to do this.
IChemE Chief Executive, Jon Prichard, reflects on the last year and how IChemE has responded to the challenges presented by the pandemic.
Today marks the anniversary of the first lockdown in the UK which seems an appropriate time to reflect on how this global crisis affected IChemE and our response to it. As lockdown in the UK first came into force on 23 March 2020, few of us foresaw the enduring impact that would follow and most thought it would only last a matter of weeks; yet 12 months have now passed and the world we live in is a very different place.
It has been 60 years since our inaugural Hazards conference took place, and although this year presented its own challenges, we were pleased to have successfully hosted #Hazards30 in a virtual format for the very first time. With an impressive line-up of plenary speakers and presentations, over 260 process safety professionals were still able to get the full experience of Hazards from the comfort of their home.
COVID-19 has turned the world upside down, posing so many challenges for society.
Now it’s more important than ever for us to share good practice and process safety learnings gained so far during this unprecedented time to ensure together we maintain the safety of our businesses and our communities working within, and living by, them.
It is natural for a learned society to want to engage with innovation – especially when there is a clear and present issue or problem that chemical engineers have the necessary skills to help to solve.
This is not only the case during a pandemic, it is just as true when it comes to addressing climate change, water supply, improving the nutritional value of food, or considering the sustainability of a particular process.
Of course, we want to help. Members want to engage, and employees want to support those members to make sure collectively we get the best possible outcome.
To make it a smooth experience, it is important that the role, remit and the limitations of a professional institution in this process is well understood by all.
In this blog, Alan Harper, the CPD Lead of IChemE’s Professional Formation Forum, urges members to prepare for mandated CPD audits. He explains what’s changing and why taking part in the audit is important for members.
In today’s blog, IChemE Safety Centre Director Trish Kerin talks about the importance of continuing to raise awareness of managing major hazards during the pandemic.
Name: Trish Kerin
Job title: Director IChemE Safety Centre
As process safety professionals we know that process safety never takes a holiday, and it certainly doesn’t take sick leave for a global pandemic either. We continue to see incidents occur each week and it is unfortunate to note that the circumstances we find ourselves in because of the pandemic contributed to the cause in some cases. Incidents have taken place on restarting after inadequately planned shut-downs and after handling higher quantities of flammable substances, for example when retooling to manufacture alcohol-based hand sanitisers. We have also seen incidents caused by equipment failure that wasn’t adequately maintained due to the restrictions and due to the inappropriate storage of oxidizing agents.
We have so many dedicated member volunteers. They are the heart of the Institution performing various roles to ensure we can fulfil our duties as a qualifying body and a learned society for chemical engineers.
Thank you to all our worldwide volunteers for your efforts, which have continued throughout the coronavirus pandemic, maintaining an excellent standard of activities and support.
As this week marks Ireland Volunteers Week (21-27 September), under the theme ‘health and well being’, we want to say a huge thank you all of our volunteers in the region for their continued contributions.
To celebrate, we’re sharing the stories of just some of our many volunteers to highlight their fantastic work. Read about how in their volunteer roles they are continuously supporting their fellow chemical engineers, and particularly during this pandemic.
Chemical engineers create innovative technologies and solutions, adapt to disruption, and make processes more efficient and sustainable to benefit society.
But when the world is faced by unexpected challenges such as COVID-19, how do we create, maintain and improve upon safe, sustainable and cost effective solutions?
Despite the disruption of the pandemic, the organising committee for our Chemeca conference – made up of volunteer members and hosted by IChemE, Engineers Australia, The Royal Australian Chemical Institute and Engineering New Zealand – were keen to ensure sharing knowledge on these challenges still took place.
So our physical conference has been reshaped into a series of one-hour to 90 minute webinar sessions across four weeks and renamed Bite-Sized Chemeca. Under the theme ‘renew, sustain, disrupt and advance’, our expert engineer plenary speakers and panellists will discuss and present upon the hot topics affecting both industry and academia, including on COVID-19, industry 4.0, circular economy and energy efficiency.
Ahead of the event in two weeks’ time (29 September), we caught up with Dr Bronwyn Evans, Chief Executive of Engineers Australia, and our Deputy President, Jane Cutler who will be delivering plenary sessions in week one and two, respectively. Read their thoughts on how engineers might need to adapt to address these challenges and gain an insight into their plenaries below.
Chemical engineering educators had already been trying to adapt to and manage the impact of the rapid development of new technologies and advances are having upon education.
Industry 4.0 has prompted the chemical engineering education community to engage with, and adapt to, the digital transformation agenda. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit global communities, it caused huge disruption to learning, and saw remarkable efforts to take learning fully virtual.
Despite online learning playing a strong role in many chemical engineering education establishments across the world, the disruption COVID-19 has caused saw Esther Ventura-Medina, Chair of IChemE’s Education Special Interest Group (EdSIG), to reflect on what still needs to be done for the virtual future in an article in The Chemical Engineer.
“This technology is about storing energy in the form of heat, which is important because over 50% of global energy is used as heat, which emits carbon dioxide. So, this [process] helps to turn a renewable into heat.”
Congratulations to the Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage, University of Birmingham and Jinhe Energy. They took home the Energy, Research Project and Outstanding Achievement Awards at the IChemE Global Awards 2019 for their project, ‘The NexGen-TEST Project’.
In this blog, IChemE Fellow Kate Barclay talks about how STEM apprentices are at the forefront of the pandemic as well as the importance of developing and supporting applied, industry-relevant STEM talent.
An Imperial College London PhD student turned co-founder of sustainable solutions company Chrysalix Technologies, chemical engineer Florence Gschwend is passionate about creating a clean future for all.
It’s her company’s initiative the BioFlex Process – a process that turns thousands of tonnes of unused biomass material, including agricultural residues, energy crops and waste construction wood, into new raw material – that won her the Young Researcher Award at the IChemE Global Awards 2019.
To mark World Environment Day today (5 June), we’re sharing Florence’s story. In this video Florence explains more about how she and her colleagues are scaling up this sustainable technology and why she was delighted to be crowned the category winner at the IChemE Global Awards.
Do you know a young researcher who is using their technical knowledge to help address important economic, environmental or social issues?
Why not nominate them for the Young Researcher Award. Nominations are open now. The deadline for entries has been extended until 10 July 2020.
In this blog, Sam Wilkinson, committee member and communications lead on the Learned Society Committee, discusses IChemE’s ongoing learned society activity that is contributing to achieving Aim 2 of Strategy 2024.
Our dedicated member volunteers around the world are the life and soul of the Institution. Without their efforts we couldn’t fulfil our duties as a qualifying body or a learned society. Or truly be an organisation that is led by members, supports members and serves society.
Their efforts and activities are appreciated by the Institution all year round. And, as part of IChemE’s Strategy 2024, we are working to further improve the volunteer experience to ensure the membership remains a vibrant and thriving community. This is one of President Stephen Richardson’s top priorities, and that’s why at the end of 2019 he initiated a two-year programme to improve support for and better recognise volunteers. We are currently reviewing processes and documentation and planning how we can better align and improve them across the organisation, whilst adopting best practice. We’ll provide further updates on this in the coming months as the programme of work progresses.
As we entered 2020, no-one could have predicted the effect coronavirus would have on individuals, organisations and our health services across the world. At IChemE, we’ve been adapting our procedures so we can still maintain the same standards of services to our members, and our fellow professionals across academia and industry. A huge thank you to all of our volunteers across the world who are leading this effort.
To mark Volunteers Week in the UK (1-7 June), we’re sharing stories from just a couple of our many UK volunteers to highlight their great contributions to help IChemE adapt in this pandemic. They explain why now it’s more important than ever to maintain safe and quality practices in chemical engineering to support the wider community.
At the IChemE Global Awards 2019, Sellafield received the Industry Project Award for their project Safe Retrieval of Legacy Nuclear Waste.
Historically, there were no facilities in place to store nuclear waste safely. Sellafield Ltd undertook a large-scale project to remove the hazardous waste and debris from the open ponds transferring this into safe storage facilities. This was only possible with the collective knowledge of chemical engineers who were all integral to the project.
Learn more from Simon Degler and Nick Elliott who are delighted to be recognised for their achievements in this video:
Has your organisation implemented an exciting project related to construction of new industrial plant or enhancement of existing facilities? If so, enter now for the IChemE Global Awards 2020.