10 minutes with...Professor Ian Wilson, new Editor-in-Chief of Food and Bioproducts Processing

4th July 2016

This week our IChemE journals have much to celebrate. The latest figures from Thomson Reuters have revealed two journals, which we published in partnership with Elsevier, have increased Impact Factors.

The most improved journal was Food and Bioproducts Processing, which went from a score of 2.474 to 2.687. This is fantastic news for the contributors, and of course the editorial team, which has recently expanded.

Joining Food and Bioproducts Processing is Prof. DI Wilson. He takes over from long-standing editor Ken Morison this week, and joins Nigel Tichener-Hooker as joint Editor-in-Chief.

So how does he plan to make the role his own? We caught up with him to find out.


Name: Ian Wilson (DI Wilson on papers – I’m called by my second name)


Undergraduate, Chemical Engineering, University of Cambridge, UK

PhD, Chemical Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Job Title:

Professor of Soft Solids and Surfaces, University of Cambridge, UK

Joint Editor-in-Chief, Food and Bioproducts Processing

Membership Grade: Fellow

Special Interest Group: Food & Drink

Research interests: How processing microstructured materials such as foodstuffs determines their structure and properties. This has led me to work in rheology, fouling and cleaning, and heat transfer.

Congratulations on being appointed the new Editor-in-Chief of Food and Bioproducts Processing (FBP). But before we get to that, what is your background and interests?

I found I had a knack for chemistry and maths at school and I followed that through to studying chemical engineering at University. My final year project was with one of the founding editors of FBP, Peter Fryer, and this introduced me to food engineering and how fun research could be.

I decided to carry on to do a PhD, albeit on a different continent (Canada), but not on food. When I started lecturing I was keen to work across industrial sectors. The challenges of microstructure and processing are so important to food, but also important to many other sectors. Some of the stuff I work on is definitely not for human consumption!

What is Food and Bioproducts Processing? Why is this journal of particular interest to you?

FBP is the IChemE journal that focuses on the safe processing of biological products, and that includes food. Much of my research interests are inspired by the challenges in this area so it’s a journal I have published in regularly.

The journal is particularly important to me because it demonstrates one area in which chemical engineering has a key part to play. Everyone needs food, so there will always be a need for FBP.

What are the aims of the journal? Who is its audience?

If you visit the journal’s webpage [http://www.journals.elsevier.com/food-and-bioproducts-processing] it’s put quite eloquently there. The audience is all folk involved in the technical side of food production and bioproducts manufacturing. This includes researchers generating knowledge, right through to practitioners looking to gain insight for their application.

What is the role of an Editor-in-Chief of an academic journal?

Can you ask me in 5 years?!

FBP has two Editors-in-Chief:  Nigel Titchener-Hooker looks after the bioproducts side and I’m taking over from Ken Morison covering food. We each have a team of Editors, who look after the papers in different topic areas.

My role is probably split into three core areas. One of these key activities is to support the Editors in their role, as we work together to ensure that the journal continues to publish high quality and timely work. The second element is more strategic, and I will be reviewing topic areas and thinking about where we should take the journal as it continues to grow. The third part is vetting papers, this is related to ensuring the journal is of the highest quality -  FBP only considers a small fraction of papers submitted.

How did you come to be Editor-in-Chief, why did you take on the role?

The short answer is that I was asked, at the right time. I believe that chemical engineering has a key part to play in food processing and manufacturing. It is, and will continue to be, increasingly important in supporting high quality research and scholarship in this area, in order to meet the global challenges associated with food and bioproducts processing.

I also very much identify with the wider ethos of FBP, to encourage transfer of knowledge across the biomanufacturing sphere.

What are your plans for the journal over the next few years? Would you like to publish a special issue? How do you intend to increase the journal’s impact?

Ken Morison has done a tremendous job with Nigel over recent years. I want to see that trend continue. Otherwise, it’s a case of watch this space.

What are the main issues and themes in Food and Bioproducts Processing? Are there any topics you would like to see covered more?

Core topic areas include biotechnology, bioprocessing, food and drink process engineering, hygienic manufacture, and process safety. I strongly suspect that topics related to sustainability, based on restricted resource or the need to find alternative sources, are going to become more popular through necessity.

What are your main interests in the area of food and bioproducts?

Me personally? My publication list includes sponge cake, chocolate, MarmiteTM and doing the washing up. My children let me do the latter…

IChemE produces six journals in partnership with leading publisher Elsevier - covering various aspects of chemical engineering. Find out more about them here.

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