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.
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.
As a membership organisation that is led by members, supports members and serves society, volunteers are the lifeblood of the Institution.
Without our member volunteers, we simply couldn’t fulfil our obligations as a qualifying body or a learned society. Their enthusiasm and drive to help fellow members, the chemical engineering community and wider society is palpable.
Established 20 years ago, University College London (UCL) launched the Bioprocess Engineering Leadership Centre to train the next generation of leaders for the bioprocess industry.
For this, they were presented with the Training and Development Award at the IChemE Global Awards 2019.
Many of the projects are in collaboration with the pharma and biotech industries. Doctoral students primarily focus on problems that look into developing new pharmaceutical medicines and how they can reach the patients that need them.
In total, the Bioprocess Engineering Leadership Centre has seen more than 200 Engineering Doctorate graduates become leaders in the field. Some have even created their own spin-out companies from this programme, raising multi-million-pound investments for the industry and in return furthering the work in the bioprocess industry.
Proud to be recognised for their achievements, here are Gary Lye and Frank Baganz from UCL talking about the project:
Have you got a training scheme worthy of an IChemE Global Award 2020? Nominations are open until 26 June 2020.
Find out more and enter online at: www.icheme.org/awards
This video was produced by CMA Video.
In today’s guest blog, Chartered Chemical Engineer and IChemE Fellow Richard Cousins, explains a recent member continuing professional development (CPD) sampling exercise undertaken by IChemE.
A member of IChemE’s Professional Formation Forum and a CPD Assessor Panel Lead, he reviews the key lessons from the sampling exercise, and what comes next.
At IChemE we’re undertaking a series of projects that aim to improve member services, service delivery and the sustainability of our Institution.
One of these is an overarching project called Programme SMART which, as IChemE’s Vice President of Qualifications Ainslie Just discussed in our recent blog, aims to deliver sustainable membership growth.
In today’s blog, Rob Best who is the Chair of the Individual Case Procedure Task and Finish Group, provides an update on one of the projects in the “Flexible Pathways to Membership” area of Programme SMART.
Programme SMART (Sustainable Membership Achieved via Robust Transactions) is a group of four member-led projects designed to deliver sustainable membership growth.
When it was initiated in 2017, members were consulted and webinars were held to inform the membership of its aims.
We’re now beginning to deliver some of the changes and so we wanted to provide an update on progress of the projects, and we will continue to do this via The Chemical Engineer and this blog throughout 2020.
In today’s blog, IChemE Vice President (Qualifications) Ainslie Just provides more detail on Programme SMART and its progress.
Over the past few weeks, our members have been celebrating diversity and female engineers’ careers to mark International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) 2019 and the 100th birthday of INWED founders, the Women’s Engineering Society (WES).
This year’s theme was ‘Transform the Future’. Our members felt it was important to reflect on the barriers and opportunities to engineering careers, how women are currently helping find solutions to worldwide issues, and how to encourage the next generation of female engineers.
So, here’s a round-up of the events they helped organise to discuss these issues.
This week we showcased six videos as part of our latest #ChemEngProfiles series, which were recorded last year with ExxonMobil UK. ExxonMobil are one of the top employers of chemical engineers, and one of the biggest oil and gas corporations in the world. The company has 19 refineries worldwide, one of which is based in Fawley, Hampshire, UK. They are also one of our Gold Corporate Partners.
In this brand new series, five of ExxonMobil’s chemical engineers,tell us what they love about their job, why working towards or achieving chartered status is important to them, and how the company is investing in the next generation of chemical engineers.
Last week we travelled down to the University of Sheffield to chat with chemical engineering students from all over the UK, at the Frank Morton Careers Fair.
The event provides us with a great opportunity to engage with students and host some friendly competition of our own. This year the IChemE stand was transformed into a Harry Potter theme, with photo props, our own IChemE every-flavour-beans, and Quidditch Beaker Pong.
Students took it in turn to play, and with five ping-pong balls each had to get the highest score they could. The balls had to travel through a gold Quidditch hoop, bounce once, and land in one of the chemistry beakers to get points. Serena, part of our Member Communities team, was on-hand to spot any cheaters!
In the end, Assekan Bali from University of Wolverhampton got the high score with 45 points. She wins an Amazon voucher and coveted ‘Yer a Chemical Engineer, Harry’ T-Shirt.
We also had chance to visit some of the employer sponsors who were on-hand to provide practical advice and information about graduate placements to the 2,000 students who filled Sheffield’s Octagon Centre. They included 3M, AstraZeneca, Bechtel, GSK, Johnson Matthey, Phillips 66, Total, Unilever and Wood.
The Careers Fair precedes the Frank Morton Sports Day, an annual event for chemical engineering students where they compete against each other to be crowned champions of undergraduate chemical engineering. Competitions range from the more traditional, such as football and netball, to the more alternative, with this year including an Escape Room challenge.
The University of Newcastle came in third, winning the Netball and doing well at the Escape Room and Dodgeball. Sheffield, determined not to be embarrassed on their home turf, took home second prize after coming top in the Tug of War, Fun Run, Men’s Rowing.
But the University of Birmingham triumphed yet again and took home the coveted Frank Morton Trophy for the fifth time in a row. They had a number of successes on the day, winning in Ultimate Frisbee, Darts, Dodgeball and Pool.
Every year at Frank Morton students put their creative skills to the test and design special t-shirts for their teams. The University of Manchester won the T-Shirt Competition this year, with their clever chemical engineering take on Ariana Grande’s smash-hit single, ‘Thank U, Next’.
The evening then continued late into the night, with entertainment to suit all tastes.
Committee President, David Miller commented:
“Frank Morton returned to Sheffield for the first time since 2003 as a smashing success. The great variety of evening entertainments were of particular note with everything from cinema, jazz, gaming and mocktails through to a bar crawl, Scott Mills, Karaoke and our very own DJ Soc. On behalf of the committee I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone involved in ironing out the hiccups of the day, especially to our amazing Student Union.”
Of course, the special thing about Frank Morton is that it is organised by chemical engineering students, for chemical engineering students. It is a significant undertaking to balance around studying, but can be advantageous in the future in terms of boosting your CV. The students on the Sheffield Frank Morton Committee shined this year, putting on a great event for everyone to enjoy. Well done to them all:
David Miller – Committee President
Joel Kirk – ChemEngSoc Liaison
Alex Castling – Secretary
Dimitris Koutris – Treasurer
Zak Nicholls and Sophia Van Mourik – Sports Coordinators
Eve Rosser – Entertainment and Catering Coordinator
Yashodh Karunanayake – Sponsorship Coordinator
Greg Ouseley – External University Liaison
Ellie Langshaw – Transport and Logistics Coordinator
Usman Anwar – Ceremonies Coordinator:
…not forgetting the University of Sheffield Student’s Union which helped to ensure it all ran like clockwork.
Sheffield will soon be accepting bids from Universities looking to host the event in 2019. We’ll keep you posted on the result.
After a successful campaign in 2017, the team behind International Women in Engineering Day, wanted to aim higher for 2018 and have created the theme #RaisingTheBar.
We felt this was a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in engineering and how these successes are ‘Raising the Bar’ for aspiring female engineers.
We wanted to see what our members thought, so asked them: How do you feel female chemical engineers are raising the bar?
Thank you to all the responses we’ve had – it’s been great to see them.
We’ve collated the responses from the chemical engineers below. We’ll be sharing them on Twitter throughout International Women in Engineering Day. Continue reading How do you feel female chemical engineers are raising the bar?
Science and engineering research is key to innovation as society evolves. Breakthroughs are happening every day, all over the world, in laboratories and in field research.
Assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, evaluating its impact to ensure world-class, dynamic and responsive studies are maintained, and providing accountability for public investment is a big job – and one carried out by the Research Excellence Framework (REF).
There’s only one thing on your mind in February if you’re a UK chemical engineering student. Nope, not Pancake Day, not Valentine’s, not even your exams or Final Design Project (okay maybe that’s on your mind a little). It’s the Frank Morton Sports Day!
The annual gathering is special because it is just for them, chemical engineering students from up and down the UK. One day to get to know prospective employers, compete with rival Universities in sports from hockey to chess, all rounded off by a night of entertainment.
University of Leeds took on the monumental task of hosting this year, with a committee of eight students. The Frank Morton Sports Day is a huge undertaking for the students, who find time to organise a sports competition, careers fair, and night out for more than 2,000 students – all whilst studying.
The event was generously supported by Essar Oil, Total Lindsey Oil Refinery, AstraZeneca, Essar, GSK, Pfizer, Phillips 66 and TeachFirst. IChemE was also there to support the event, and invited students to participate in I’m a Chemical Engineer, Get Me Out of Here!
IChemE’s offices close from today until 2 January 2018. It’s been a busy year, and in today’s blog post we take a look at some of the highlights in numbers.
Remember, our Annual Review is published in May 2018 – giving a comprehensive overview of IChemE’s 2017 activities and achievements. Check out the Annual Review archive here.
We look forward to working with you in 2018. If you are a volunteer, thank you for your support. If you have engaged with us, if you have attended our events, if you have joined the conversation via this blog or social media – thanks for helping us to advance chemical engineering worldwide.
Season’s Greetings and best wishes for 2018.
For many years, IChemE was a stand-alone publisher of chemical engineering books and had a small but dedicated team of staff administering the process. More recently, we have conducted our publishing activities in partnership with Elsevier. This has seen the introduction of many new titles, while other successful titles with Elsevier have been adopted by the joint programme.
However, there is still a lengthy back catalogue of titles which were published by IChemE prior to our Elsevier partnership. They are unfortunately at the stage where they are getting a little out of date. But just like a dog isn’t just for Christmas, neither is chemical engineering knowledge! That is why we would like to work with our members to develop new and updated editions for some of these titles.
Initial feedback is that some of the books below are still incredibly useful to our members, and new editions would be a good initiative. But which titles do you think need updating first? Which are the best of the bunch?
Please see below all the books currently on the IChemE back catalogue. We would value your feedback on which titles you would most like to see a new edition of, and why.
To tell us, simply comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking to collate the feedback at the end of January 2018.
The first semester of university is underway. For some chemical, bio-chemical and process engineering students, it’s their final year; for others it’s their first September for sometime not spent in a lecture theatre or lab.
Those who have recently graduated and haven’t yet found a placement or role at a company, you’re probably thinking hard about your career. For those in their final year, it’s never too early to start getting some ideas of what job you’d like.
Either way, it can be a daunting prospect. Where do you begin? How do you prepare for job hunting and those all important interviews to come?
Here are our top 10 tips to help in your job hunting journey.
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.
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.
Thanks for joining us for round two of our blog series, celebrating the very worthy winners of the IChemE Global Awards 2016. With help from our friends at Morgan Sindall we have produced a video for every category, and each one includes a special interview with the winners.
Yesterday we looked at some life-changing products, and the theme remains the same in today’s post. However today’s products have a little something extra – they have been specially designed to help tackle a problem in low-middle income countries.
This goes to show that chemical engineering really does matter, and that the work of chemical engineers doesn’t just make our lives easier – it is solving some of the world’s biggest poverty issues.
Enjoy the three videos below, and stay tuned the rest of the week when we reveal even more winning projects.
To help you stay up-to-date with the latest achievements from the chemical engineering research community here is our monthly instalment with some of the latest stories.
September’s five stories of amazing chemical engineering research and innovation are:
The Popeye effect – powered by spinach
Popeye was right; we can be powered by spinach! Researchers from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a bio-photo-electro-chemical (BPEC) cell that produces electricity and hydrogen from water using sunlight, using a simple membrane extract from spinach leaves. The article, publish in the journal Nature Communications, demonstrates the unique combination of a man-made BPEC cell and plant membranes, which absorb sunlight and convert it into a flow of electrons highly efficiently. The team hope that this paves the way for the development of new technologies for the creation of clean fuels from renewable sources. The raw material of the device is water, and its products are electric current, hydrogen and oxygen.
This week’s heatwave has reminded us all in the UK that summer is finally here, and for many students this means one thing – final projects have been handed in, last exams have been sat, and the ceremonial end to University is in sight – graduation.
If you are a final year chemical engineering student you may have already had your graduation, if not it’s just around the corner. This is a time to celebrate all your hard work and thank those who have helped you make it this far.
It may be the end of an era, but don’t panic about what comes next. You are about to begin your journey to become a professional chemical engineer.
But where to start? Here’s our ten top things to do after graduation:
The Top 50 Women in UK Engineering was published today by the Daily Telegraph, in partnership with the Women’s Engineering Society (WES). It celebrates female engineers across a broad range of sectors and disciplines to mark National Women in Engineering Day – 23 June. Over 800 nominations were received, so to make the Top 50 is a huge achievement.
But which chemical engineers made the list?
1. Dame Judith Hackitt
The first chemical engineer to make the list (coming in at number 18), Dame Judith Hackitt, spent 23 years in industry before moving on to represent various professional institutions and boards. She was the Chair of the Health and Safety Executive for 8 years, and has recently become Chair of the EEF.
Judith was IChemE President 2013-2014, is an IChemE Fellow and an active member of the Institution. She is passionate about valuing diversity, and is strongly opposed to positive discrimination and tokenism. An interview we did with Judith for International Women’s Day is available here.
TOP QUOTE: “Teachers are ill-informed about engineering. They don’t know what it is and they have pre-conceived notions that it’s dirty, its greasy, it’s all these things which it’s not. And they say ‘No, that’s not for girls.’ You still find that even now, forty years later.”
On 24 May 2016 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Professor Jonathan Seville was inaugurated as IChemE President for 2016-17. The Executive Dean of Engineering at University of Surrey delivered his Presidential Address on the subject of relevance. Jonathan challenged us all to think: how will the Institution and the profession stay relevant in a world that is rapidly changing?
ChemEngDay UK, the UK’s annual chemical engineering conference for the research community, came to a successful close last week. Hosted this year by the University of Bath, it welcomed over 250 delegates to Bath from across the UK and beyond.
ChemEngDay UK was begun to facilitate networking between chemical engineers across UK universities. Attended predominantly by PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and academics, together with delegates from industry, it is the only chemical engineering conference in the UK for the academic community.
Check out some event highlights below:
IChemE’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are an essential way for our members to share knowledge and collaborate on initiatives, which are of significance to their sector.
Today is World Water Day, and our Water SIG is a hugely important part of providing expert advice and consultation to the innovations that could change our world. Water is essential to life, it must be sustainable or we cannot survive. Chemical engineers are an important part of making sure water provision is sufficient, clean, economical, and environmentally-friendly.
Chris Short, Chair of the IChemE Water SIG, explores in more detail the current challenges for the water sector in today’s blog post. Read on to hear his thoughts, and feel free to join the conversation on Twitter using #WorldWaterDay or by leaving a comment below:
Name: Chris Short
Job: Consultant and Chartered Chemical Engineer
Company: Chris Short Water Quality (previously Yorkshire Water)
Special Interest Group: Water, Chairman
Today is World Water Day, and I’ll be attending a conference in Leeds, UK, on Innovations in Wastewater Treatment. The focus will be on the recovery of value from wastewater and I expect to hear how leading-edge technologies are performing and what new processes are being evaluated by researchers.
This is exciting stuff.
The UCL Ramsay Society held its Annual Debate on the Friday 4 March. The topic – ‘Does oil have a future?‘ – explored areas such as energy policies, emissions, sustainability and the cyclic nature of the oil and gas industry.
The panel members were; Professor Paul Ekins , Dr Myrian Schenk, Abhishek Goswami and John Kemp.The event ended with a Q & A session with members of the audience.
IChemE member Matthew Howard was there to report on the debate. Here are his thoughts:
It quickly became clear that this year’s UCL Ramsay Society Debate “Does Oil Have a Future” was somewhat of a forgone conclusion; its title mirroring alarmist traditions of media headlines which you could imagine exclaiming “Oil is Dead”.
While this would be great news for atmospheric CO2 concentrations, there was agreement between the speakers that yes, oil does have a future. But the question remains, for how long?
We hope you have been keeping up with our ChemEngProfiles video blogs. Over the last few weeks, we have shared the stories of twenty chemical engineers – at various stages in their careers, and working for some of the biggest companies in the world.
Last week we gave you ‘Five powerful reasons to be a chemical engineer at Shell’, following the success of our previous posts – ‘Five sweet reasons to be a chemical engineer at Mondelez’, ‘Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at BP’, and ‘Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at Syngenta’. So what’s next?
The thing that our interviewees had in common was that they are all IChemE members, and they view membership as an important addition to their CV.
Today is Day 363 and the end of my time in the blogosphere is getting closer. I have just three days left to shine a light on chemical engineering.
And since three is the magic number, according to the music of Schoolhouse Rock and De La Soul, I think it’s fitting to focus on three topics that underpin an excellent chemical engineering education. A sound knowledge of these topics, coupled with an ability to apply them in a practical setting, is a key part of the learning outcomes from an IChemE accredited degree course of which there are over 200 on offer in 60 university departments in 13 countries.
It’s fair to say that without a fundamental grounding in core chemical engineering principles, none of the achievements that I have described over the last twelve months would have been possible. And whilst this is not an exhaustive list, I’ve attempted to distil the richness of our profession into just three topics – topics that no chemical engineer can live without.
I’d be interested to hear if you agree with my three choices and, because there is no right or wrong answer in a debate like this, readers should feel free to disagree – and comment on the blog.
Without further ado, here are my top three topics:
Thermodynamics is the branch of physics concerned with heat and temperature and their relation to energy and work. It defines macroscopic variables, such as internal energy, entropy and pressure, that partly describe a body of matter or radiation.
It’s a rite of passage for first year chemical engineering undergraduates to get to grips with the laws of thermodynamics – and seemingly endless hours spent looking at steam tables!
Thermodynamics is an essential part of chemical engineering. We need to understand how energy is transferred within a system and to its surroundings. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to analyse or design a chemical process. One the first stages of designing a process from concept phase is performing a material and energy balance. It’s a tough topic, but we’d be sunk without it.
As regular readers will recognise, I am based at Imperial College London and today, I want to describe some of the work that goes on here.
I am the Professor of Energy Engineering, in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and much of my research is now built around carbon capture and storage (CCS). I’d like to tell you a little more about the work on carbon capture here at Imperial, with particular focus on our carbon capture pilot plant.
The carbon capture pilot plant is so big that it stretches over four floors of our building, right at its centre – which is pretty impressive for a university pilot plant and helps provide a sense of scale for the real thing.
The pilot plant provides our students with an opportunity to grapple with some of the practical challenges that they will encounter in industry. It certainly presents the opportunity to hone a few of the skills that might prove useful in the future.
The name, Trevor Kletz, needs little introduction to anyone who has been involved with chemical process safety over the past forty years. Trevor died in 2013 at the age of ninety.
He is greatly missed but his impact on the chemical engineering profession was enormous and his name is rarely uttered along without the words ‘hero’ or ‘guru’ as well as ‘teacher’, ‘mentor’ or ‘friend’, in the same breath.
Trevor spent his entire career at ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries), and by the time of his retirement in 1982 he had created a safety culture within the company with a major positive impact on accident statistics.
This success was attributed to his powerful intellect on one hand, but also to his exceptional communication skills. Trevor’s ability to reduce complicated issues to simple fundamentals was the stuff of legend.
Throughout my blog, I have highlighted some important chemical engineering innovations. I wanted to shine a light on the valuable contribution that my profession makes to the world around us.
Some of the most important work that we do isn’t just using our technical knowledge; it’s talking to the next generation of chemical engineers and sharing that knowledge.
My first work experience of industrial chemistry and engineering, a summer job at Podmore and Sons pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, UK, sparked an interest that shaped my future career.
With this in mind, IChemE is proud to support an initiative run by Amec Foster Wheeler. The Amec Foster Wheeler Young Engineers Scheme (YES) has been developed by the company’s engineering teams in Reading, UK, to encourage student involvement in engineering.
Outreach is a really important part of being a chemical engineer. Inspiring the next generation of engineers should be a priority for all of us.
I’m proud to see so many chemical engineers who are enthusiastic about shining a light on our profession.
I recently attended a presentation given by Dr Mark Haw, senior lecturer in chemical and process engineering at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK. He talked about a fantastic group of researchers who run nano-themed workshops to engage with schools and the public through ‘Really Small Science‘.
So I have asked Mark to tell us more about their nano-enterprise: