Marking a year of chemical engineering achievements
What have chemical engineers been doing to advance the profession for the benefit of society in 2018? Here are just some of our highlights from the year.
Marking a year of chemical engineering achievements
What have chemical engineers been doing to advance the profession for the benefit of society in 2018? Here are just some of our highlights from the year.
It’s 5 November, and across the UK tonight sparklers will be sparkling, and bangers will be banging. Each year fireworks displays are put on to mark the fortunately unsuccessful attempt by a group of conspirators trying to demolish the Houses of Parliament.
In today’s guest blog, Tony Fishwick explores process safety and management of fireworks as part of a special issue of the Loss Prevention Bulletin, entitled Fireworks and Explosives.
Today, 1 October 2018, marks the start of Black History Month. The achievements and events of black people are being celebrated across the world throughout October.
Members of BBSTEM, a non-profit organisation campaigning for balance and presentation of black individuals working in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), will be marking achievements of prominent figures in STEM – past and present – with a social media campaign. You can join in using the hashtag #BBSTEMBHM18
Chemical engineer Kayisha Payne founded BBSTEM earlier this year. Subsequently, Eniola Fujamade, who works at KBR, and Paula Nkuli, who works at Johnson Matthey, joined the team. Kayisha tells us more about their campaign and the importance of celebrating diversity in all engineering disciplines, including chemical engineering. Continue reading GUEST BLOG: Celebrating the achievements of black chemical engineers for Black History Month
In today’s blog John Bradbury, Vice Chair of InterEngineering and Continuous Improvement Manager at Amcor, gives his perspective on the recent London Pride celebrations and why inclusivity in engineering is so important in the 21st century. Continue reading Flying the flag for LGBT engineers – London Pride 2018
This week eleven representatives – a mixture of Trustees, members, and staff – from IChemE attended the 30th Parliamentary Links Day.
Hosted by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB), the annual event brings together scientists and engineers from across the UK to discuss key issues with MPs and their peers.
This year’s theme was Science and the Industrial Strategy, and included two panel sessions – The Mission and The Target.
The UK government updated the Industrial Strategy on 21 May 2018 to focus on four ‘Grand Challenges’ – Artificial Intelligence and Data, Ageing Society, Clean Growth and the Future of Mobility.
On 20 January 2017, we announced that chemical engineering postgraduate student Erin Johnson had been awarded the Ashok Kumar Fellowship 2017.
The annual Fellowship, which is jointly supported by IChemE and the North-East England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC), provides one chemical engineer with the opportunity to work the UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) for three months.
During Erin’s time at POST she researched and spoke to experts from academia, industry, government and the third sector, about the fire safety of building materials. Her research culminated in a briefing note (known as a POSTnote) to support MPs and peers in making evidence-based policy decisions on the subject.
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?
In today’s blog post, Jacob Brown of IChemE’s Future Energy Leaders discusses and reflects on the group’s latest event on energy forecasting, and what it means for chemical engineers.
On the 17th of May 2018, the Future Energy Leaders of the IChemE Energy Centre hosted a panel discussion on the future of energy, and more specifically, on the topic of energy forecasting; i.e. our ability to predict and plan for the imminent changes in our energy demand and supply. More than 20 delegates attended the live event in London, UK – with more than 40 watching online.
In the past, efforts at forecasting our energy system have been very inaccurate. This event brought together experts from a variety of backgrounds to examine why this is, and how we should be using these forecasts. In short, it seems the answer is “don’t just look at the numbers, look at the premises”.
Three researchers at the University of Birmingham are battling it out to be crowned the winner of the university’s Philanthropic Research Project 2018.
The university has announced the finalists of its research project competition – selecting three that have the potential to change lives. Birmingham has committed to fundraising for the chosen winner over the next year, helping to drive their research forward to potential commercialisation opportunities – ultimately providing benefit to more people.
One of the finalists is Dr Sophie Cox from the Department of Chemical Engineering. Her project, Engineering new medical systems to fight antimicrobial resistance, is focused on combating antibiotic resistance, which is predicted to kill more people than cancer in a few years’ time.
Read on to find out more about her project, and how you can help her chances of winning the competition.
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).
You can apply for one of the six Trustee vacancies available for IChemE’s Council.
As an IChemE Trustee you will be sharing your expertise and experiences and contributing to the advancement of the Institution and chemical engineering more generally. This voluntary position provides an opportunity to develop new skills, broaden your experience and help shape the future of IChemE for the benefit of society.
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!
Like the TV Show (I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!), IChemE had designed it’s own Bushtucker Trials, and competition was fierce to make the High Scoreboard. Individuals participated in Critter Chaos – digging for IChemE stars wearing oven gloves in a mound of spiders, snakes and jungle debris. In true sporting spirit, the team game gave contestants a chance to become ball boys, with a twist – they could only pick them up using straws.
Congratulations to Adam Raut and Alex De-Koning, University of Edinburgh – winners of our team game. They soared ahead by sucking up 55 ping pong balls in one minute. University of Bath’s Arjun Wadhwa managed to find 45 stars in the same time, and took the Critter Chaos crown.
They win an Amazon voucher each and a personalised I’m a Chemical Engineer, Get Me Out of Here! T-Shirt. Check out the IChemE team styling out theirs:
There was a plethora of sports for all 26 universities to participate in this year, including; badminton, basketball, chess, climbing, dodgeball, football, frisbee, funrun, hockey, laser quest, pool, quidditch, rounders, rugby, squash, table tennis, tennis and ultimate frisbee.
In the overall sporting event, third place went to Leeds and Bath. Leeds won table tennis and basketball; while Bath took the lead position in badminton and dodgeball.
Imperial College London and University of Strathclyde came in joint second place, each accumulating 14 points. Imperial College secured the top spots in chess, the fun run (which was based on the average time for the whole team) and climbing – a new sport for the year. Strathclyde, who had travelled through the night to attend the sports day, won the football and rugby.
But, for the fourth year in a row, the University of Birmingham were declared winners at the Frank Morton closing ceremony, and presented with the coveted trophy by IChemE Director Andy Furlong.
The university took the top spot in ultimate frisbee, quidditch, hockey, pool and tennis, and accumulated 25 points.
Not forgetting of course, the T-shirt Competition. Frank Morton is known for every University designing and wearing quirky T-shirts, often featuring chemical engineering-related humour. But this year University of Strathclyde took first prize with their pirate-themed t-shirt doning the equation for walking the ‘planck’.
The evening then continued late into the night. Various DJ’s accompanied the ‘Festival’ element of the evening, which included fairground rides and new music from Leeds Student Radio. This was followed by a club night, featuring Mistajam and various other DJs.
Callum Birkin, a student from University of Birmingham, said: “I’ve had a great day. The atmosphere has been really good. I know not everyone is so happy about it, I think it’s good that Birmingham have won.”
Speaking shortly after presenting the trophy to a jubilant Birmingham team captain against a backdrop of raucous celebration, IChemE Director, Andy Furlong, said: “The Frank Morton Sports Day has been running for more than half a century and it’s a rite of passage for undergraduate chemical engineers. This year they played hard; and as usual they are set to party hard too.
“IChemE is delighted to be in the mix but we don’t want to take any of the credit away from the student committee at Leeds who delivered another great day out for competitors from every corner of the British Isles.
“Big thanks go to out to Ethan, Kimberly and the team for delivering such a spectacular success. Months of planning and hard work must be fitted in around the weekly routine of lectures, labs and assessments; and that’s no easy task. But it’s an unbeatable experience, and one that will stand them in good stead in the future. They did Frank proud!”
The Leeds committee delivered a fantastic event, and we’d like to give them a special mention in this post. Well done to…
University of Leeds Committee
Matthew Powders – Bid Lead/President
Ethan Errington – Sponsorship Coordinator
Kimberley Pavier – Event Treasurer
Jiara Rama – University Liaison
Lucia Vilajoana-Ricon – Sports Organiser
Abdullah Ali – Opening Ceremony
James Storrow – Closing Ceremony
Georgia Panayi – Evening Entertainment
Daniel Vincent – Secretary
Ethan Errington, from the Leeds committee, said: “This year saw the welcomed return of Frank Morton to Leeds – marking the 10-year anniversary since its last appearance on the University campus. To celebrate, Leeds did things differently – introducing climbing as a new competitive sport and hosting, for the first time ever, the well-received Frank Morton Festival.
“On behalf of the entire organising committee, I would like to thank everybody that participated and those who worked hard to ensure the smooth running the event, making the day such an unforgettable experience. Perhaps in 2019 we can finally see Birmingham knocked from their throne…”
They will shortly be accepting bids from Universities looking to host the event in 2019. We’ll keep you posted on the result.
Frank Morton Sports Day 2018 – Competition Winners
Frank Morton Sports Day 2018 – League Table
View the Frank Morton 2018 photo gallery.
Check out the event’s social media highlights on Storify.
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.
Yesterday, we announced that an Extraordinary General Meeting would take place on Thursday 11 January 2018. Full details were posted on the IChemE website, and ballot information has been circulated to all Voting Members via email and post.
The President and Council are grateful for the many messages of support that have been received from different parts of the IChemE community around the world.
Naturally, an EGM calling notice has prompted a range of questions. We aim to address these in today’s update, and will continue to post answers via the IChemE’s blog as questions come in to us. If you have a question on the EGM, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By day, Chartered Chemical Engineer Madeleine Jones works as Deputy Operations Manager, Legacy Ponds & Silos at Sellafield, and is responsible for three nuclear facilities.
In her spare time, she is a passionate advocate of chemical engineering – promoting engineering to primary and secondary school children, and mentoring new engineering graduates at the nuclear reprocessing and decommissioning company, to inspire the next generation of chemical engineers.
She also actively volunteers for her professional engineering institution, IChemE, with roles including Student Representative on the Midlands Member Group Committee, and Webmaster for IChemE’s North West Member Group Committee.
For all of this – and more – she was recently awarded the Karen Burt Award, after being nominated by IChemE. The annual award is presented by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to a top Chartered Engineer or Chartered Physicist in memory of Dr Karen Burt.
In January 2017, Erin Johnson, a postgraduate chemical engineering student at Imperial College London, UK, was awarded the Ashok Kumar Fellowship 2017.
The annual Fellowship, supported by IChemE and the North-East England process Industry Cluster (NEPIC), grants funding for a graduate chemical engineer to spend three months working at the UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST). During this time, they get to experience life inside the Houses of Parliament and produce a POSTnote (briefing paper), or assist a government select committee with a current inquiry.
MPs rely on scientists, engineers, and academics to help inform the decisions they make. Erin’s Fellowship began in September, so we thought we’d find out how she’s been getting on.
Name: Erin Johnson
Education: Postgraduate chemical engineering student at Imperial College London, UK
Job Title: PhD candidate
Research interests: Optimisation of biomethane and bio-synthetic natural gas supply chains in the UK. I recently co-authored a white paper on options for a greener gas grid.
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.
Each year hundreds of professionals gather to be a part of our flagship process safety conference Hazards.
Process safety is fundamental to chemical, biochemical and process engineers. IChemE’s three-day event encourages them to come together and discuss: the current best practice, the latest developments, lessons learned in the process industry, and how to make operations even safer.
The conference was first held in 1960, and is now is an annual event. Hazards brings together around 100 presenters from leading industry practitioners, researchers and regulators, as well as keynote speakers invited from industry.
Chemical engineers descended on the Houses of Parliament yesterday, to ask MPs and policymakers about UK Science and Global Opportunities at Parliamentary Links Day – the largest science event in the Parliamentary calendar. They had been selected by IChemE, as a special thank-you for the time they had dedicated volunteering for the organisation.
In the wake of the Election result and as Brexit negotiations begin to take shape, Parliamentary Links Day, organised by the Royal Society of Biology, saw a record turn-out of scientists and engineers all keen to discuss how the political landscape impacted their industry and work.
Why do we need female engineers?
It’s a simple, in some ways controversial question, that we put out to IChemE members a couple of weeks ago to mark today’s International Women In Engineering Day.
We received a fantastic response from chemical engineers working all over the world – take a look at them below and stay tuned on Twitter where we will be sharing them throughout the day.
How will you or your organisation be celebrating gender diversity today?
Tomorrow is International Women In Engineering Day (INWED), and it’s been great to see an overwhelmingly positive response from our community in the form of events and activities.
The INWED website has some fantastic ideas for organisations to improve their diversity agenda, from organising networking events to completing an equal pay audit. It isn’t too late for your company to get involved, visit the website for more ideas.
Global engineering services provider KBR, a Gold Corporate Partner with the IChemE, is already ahead of the curve. Aspire, an employee-driven resources group committed to female engineers and promoting gender parity, was launched in Houston, US in 2016. In January it was rolled-out across the pond, and Aspire UK was born.
To celebrate #INWED2017 the Aspire UK team joined with KBR’s graduate network, Impact, to host students from a local school. They attended the KBR Campus in Leatherhead today (Thursday 22 June) and inspired to take a career path in engineering.
The students were immersed in a working engineering environment and given several interactive workshop presentations about engineering, the opportunities the profession presents, and the pathways into an engineering career. They attended a networking lunch where they were able to meet with more engineers from KBR, including the business leaders.
The final activity was a team building game, where the students had to use their problem solving skills to build an Oil Rig Jacket Structure (oil platform) out of paper.
We caught up with the engineers who spoke at the event.
This press release was published on the IChemE Media Centre.
Environmental impact is something that has become increasingly important for organisations and consumers in recent years. It is a topic discussed on a global scale by world leaders, and an issue of contention for many.
For some chemical engineers it has provided an opportunity for them to use their knowledge of chemical processes to create environmentally-friendly alternatives to the products we rely on daily.
In today’s blog Dr Dan Derr gives an insight into biosurfactants – which he hopes will spark a ‘renewable revolution’ in the fast-moving consumer goods industry.
Dr Daniel Derr
Project Leader, Internal Research & Development, Logos Technologies
Dan gained his PhD from Colorado State University, and went on to study bio-based jet fuels and photocatalysis at General Electric’s Global Research.
Following this, he led an integrated BioRefinery effort called the Corn to Cellulosic Migration (CCM), focusing on the migration of billions of dollars of capital deployed in today’s corn ethanol industry toward cost-effective production of greener ethanol from corn stover, switchgrass and woodchips.
Now working for Logos Technologies, Derr is currently focused on NatSurFact® – a rhamnolipid-based line of biosurfactants.
Risk will never be eliminated, but it can be greatly reduced.
Our flagship process safety conference Hazards continues to build momentum and we were pleased to welcome over 300 delegates to Hazards 27, at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, UK, last week. Various speakers, workshops and exhibitors from across the world gave excellent insight, advice and tips into the ways to review process safety practices, and useful services and products that could help improve process safety performance.
One of the most anticipated talks of the conference is the Trevor Kletz memorial lecture. Last year, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave gave some great insight into the RAF Nimrod enquiry, and how it could be applied to engineering. This year Formula 1 Analyst Mark Gallagher took to the stage, drawing parallels between risk management in the world of motorsport and the process industries.
For chemical engineers working as contractors in the design and construction of a plant, your contract is key to ensuring that your rights are protected. However, the lines are often blurred when it comes to which activities are covered by the Construction Act and which aren’t.
The Construction Act (also known as the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act) came into force in 1998. It fundamentally changed the nature of contracts in the construction industry, through the introduction of statutory implied terms regarding payment and rights to adjudication. These terms were introduced to address concerns that unfair payment practices were contributing to a high level of insolvencies in the construction sector.
What is a construction contract?
Now, if you are working on a new plant or structure, you should have a contract in place. Whether this is a construction contract as defined by the Construction Act (a contract for the carrying out of construction operations), depends upon the nature of works.
It’s in the definition of construction operations where confusion can arise as a number of activities within key industries are excluded.
What activities are excluded?
Drilling for, or the extraction of, oil and natural gas is explicitly excluded as a construction operation. Certain activities in relation to nuclear processing, power generation and the production of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil, gas or steel are also all excluded from the ambit of the Construction Act.
How have chemical engineers advanced wastewater management? #WorldWaterDay
It’s World Water Day and to celebrate Chris Short, Chair of our Water Special Interest Group has given his thoughts on this year’s theme – ‘Wastewater’. We have members working all over the world in this area, as well as researchers looking at new and innovative ways to treat wastewater to help benefit society.
Check out Chris’ thoughts below, and don’t forget to comment with your own views on the subject.
Name: Chris Short
Job: Consultant and Chartered Chemical Engineer
Company: Chris Short Water Quality (previously Yorkshire Water)
Special Interest Group: Water, Chair
I’m not going to claim that chemical engineers were behind all the advances in wastewater management in the past century, greatly improving public health and the environment within industrialised countries.
However, chemical engineers have been increasingly involved in wastewater treatment over the last 100 years.
Whether applied to industrial processes, human, or animal wastes, their skills are ideally suited to add value in this area.
Today is International Women’s Day.
Celebrating the achievements of women, and various successes in gender parity, it provides us with the perfect opportunity to shine a light on the important issue of diversity in our profession.
The percentage of female undergraduates studying chemical engineering in UK is just above 25%. It’s higher than any other engineering discipline, but there’s still more to be done.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is #BeBoldForChange. To celebrate, our member-led diversity network has shared ten inspiring quotes from their popular ‘Women in Engineering’ webinar series on changing attitudes, highlighting how the engineers featured #BeBoldForChange in their careers.
These women (and one man!) are all at different stages of their fulfilling careers. Their words should inspire you to be #BeBoldForChange too.
Not all chemical engineers end up on an oil rig. It’s a profession that can pull you in various directions, to various places and companies, tackling various problems. No chemical engineer is the same – that’s the beauty of it.
In a relatively short time Amrit Chandan has established himself as a serious entrepreneur. His company, Aceleron, uses fundamental chemical engineering principles to tackle very real challenges in our society. In today’s blog post Amrit tells us, in his own words, about his chemical engineering journey and why Aceleron, a business under 18 months old, has been turning heads.
Name: Dr. Amrit Chandan
PhD in Chemical Engineering (Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and their Applications)
BSc (Hons) Chemistry Class I
Co-Founder and Business Development, Aceleron
Amrit is an experienced engineer specialising in electrochemical technologies, specifically fuel cell technology. He co-founded battery reuse company, Aceleron in 2015. Aceleron seeks to provide low cost energy storage to developing regions.
Previously, he worked as a Technical Specialist in low carbon vehicles at Cenex, providing expertise and specialist knowledge for Cenex’ programmes and demonstrator trials.
Amrit has published 10 academic papers on a range of topics from marketing to fuel cell technology development, and was named Business Quarterly Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2014. Most recently, Amrit was featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe Class of 2017.
A cold, bright day in February saw more than circa 3,000 chemical engineering students from every corner of the British Isles gather at Loughborough University for the annual Frank Morton Sports Day.
The event has grown spectacularly from its modest beginnings in 1961 when IChemE stalwart, Professor Frank Morton, organised a football match between the chemical engineering departments at the University of Birmingham and the then University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.
Awarding Chartered Chemical Engineer status is just one of the ways we aim to be the organisation of choice for chemical engineers. We do it because we think hard-working, competent, professional chemical engineers should be recognised and provided with a mark of trust.
Yesterday we gave you ‘10 reasons to get Chartered’. So, now that you’re convinced, we have broken the process up into ten easy steps.
Okay so easy is the wrong word to describe it, because the hard-work you put in as a chemical engineer is what makes you eligible for Chartered status. It carries a lot of weight those letters after your name, they signify that you are an engineer who has the technical knowledge, practical experience, and training to be a trustworthy professional.
But trust us, the process to get there is actually pretty straight-forward. First, watch the below video, then read the 10 steps for a bit more detail – and let us know what you think in the comments.
So, how are those New Year’s Resolutions are going? Have you given into temptation yet? Skipped the gym for a takeaway? Accidentally finished the bottle of wine?
Hey, it’s ok – in many ways New Year’s Resolutions are almost made to be broken!
But what about if you could make yourself a promise that would make you a better chemical engineer? What if you could improve your job prospects? Earn more money? That would a pretty easy resolution to stick to, right?
In the lead-up to Christmas we asked members to make Getting Chartered their New Year’s Resolution. We’re committed to the continued professional development of our members, and one of the ways we do this is by awarding professional registrations.
So why apply to become a Chartered Chemical Engineer? There’s still time to set goals for 2017 and in today’s blog we give you ten reasons to make it top of your Resolution’s list.
Stay tuned too, because tomorrow we’ll give you our ’10 steps to Get Chartered’ – to make the whole process more manageable.