Centenary blog: IChemE at 100, a year of celebrations

Centenary blog: IChemE at 100, a year of celebrations

1st December 2022

As we near the end of our centenary year, IChemE President David Bogle reflects on the array of activities that have taken place to mark the centenary and expresses his thoughts on the important role chemical engineers will have in delivering sustainable development over the next 100 years.

David Bogle, IChemE President 2022–2023

Name: David Bogle

Job title and organisation: Professor of Chemical Engineering and Pro-Vice-Provost of the Doctoral School at University College London, UK.

IChemE role: IChemE President 2022–2023

Bio: David is Professor of Chemical Engineering and Pro-Vice-Provost of the Doctoral School at University College London (UCL), overseeing early-career researchers across all disciplines. He joined UCL in 1990 after completing his education at Imperial College, three years of employment in industry and three years in academia in Australia. 

David was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2005. As chair of the Engineering Ethics Reference Group for the Royal Academy of Engineering and Engineering Council he led on a report released in February 2022 ‘Engineering Ethics: maintaining society’s trust in the engineering profession’.

What a year! I must begin by saying that it has been a great honour to lead our illustrious Institution during our centenary year. It has certainly been a busy 12 months commemorating this remarkable milestone by celebrating the achievements of our profession and looking forward to how chemical engineers will continue to serve society over the next 100 years.

To shape our centenary, nine themes were selected to highlight and celebrate the enormous contribution that chemical engineering has made over the last century. We launched a dedicated centenary website to share thought-provoking articles and personal accounts, written by IChemE members, which really brought the themes to life.

As we wanted to take the opportunity to delve into the themes and discuss how chemical engineers can help to shape the future, thousands of people joined in with a prestigious programme of webinars, discussing ideas and solutions for a progressive future. If you missed any of the webinars, you can catch up on the recordings here.

The webinars gave us plenty of points to consider for the future, and I debated some of these with our Deputy President Nigel Hirst and Immediate Past President Jane Cutler in our centenary finale video which you can watch here. As part of our discussion, we covered the actions that chemical engineers should take to help society evolve in a sustainable way.

Of course, IChemE would not have grown into the vibrant membership body which stretches across the globe today, without the thousands of volunteers that have shared their skills and expertise in order to advance our profession. To recognise and celebrate our volunteers’ contribution, events were held in the UK and Malaysia where volunteers were invited to join us for refreshments and an opportunity to network with other member volunteers, and attend a keynote talk from a leading chemical engineer. For those of us that have been able to attend some of these events, it was fantastic to see some old friends and to meet new members just beginning their careers in chemical engineering. More events are planned for Australia and the UK so please look out for those.

We must now turn our attention from celebrating the last 100 years and look forward to the future. As the Presidential team discussed in our finale video, chemical engineers have a critical role to play in the sustainable development of the planet. The systems thinking approach which is fundamental to our profession is also fundamental in helping to deliver a sustainable future. I believe the contribution of chemical engineers in the future will only increase as the world recognises the significant skills and expertise that chemical engineers can bring to the table. I sincerely believe the future is bright and I have great confidence that the Institution will continue to support chemical engineers, near and far, both experienced and at the early stages of their career, in achieving their goals over the next 100 years.

For more information on IChemE's centenary, visit the dedicated website www.chemengevolution.org or follow #ChemEngEvolution on social media.