BioFutures Programme

What is the BioFutures Programme?

In December 2015, The Chemical Engineer published the article, Pick a Mix, by Ian Shott, Nigel Titchener-Hooker and Jonathan Seville. The article called for action to boost the skills diversity of chemical engineering graduates to prepare them for the greater diversity of roles requiring chemical engineers.

One sector where the skills of chemical engineers are and will be required to ensure its success is the rapidly-developing bioeconomy and biosector. The bioeconomy involves use of non-oil and gas resources and the application of industrial biotechnology (IB) to manufacture products, from bioplastics to genomic medicines. IB can increase productivity and efficiency of current processes (including those that utilise finite resources). Equally it is applied in the development of new processes that utilise more sustainable resources. Both these approaches provide the opportunity to move towards a more sustainable future and delivery of a circular economy.

IChemE has already recognised the important role that chemical engineers play in this sector. The Biochemical Engineering Special Interest Group (BESIG) is one of the largest SIGs in IChemE, and other SIGs are closely related to the biosector (Food & Drink, Pharma). But it’s clear IChemE needs to do more and the BioFutures Programme was officially launched in 2017.

Download the final BioFutures Programme report, published in December 2018 >>

The structure

The BioFutures Programme includes the BioFutures Steering Group, chaired by Ian Shott CBE (Arcinova, UK), and consists of volunteers drawn from the diversity of the biosector and IChemE's membership. The Steering Group provides direction to the programme of projects and activities.

The BioFutures Steering Group identified four key areas for IChemE to address and established four working groups:

For more information or to become involved, please contact: