Presidential Blog: Supporting innovation and expertise

Presidential Blog: Supporting innovation and expertise

28th March 2024

First things first: nominations for vacant positions on Congress and the Board of Trustees close on 2 April, so please don’t delay - apply today if you have the time and skills and have been considering putting yourself forward.  

March has been a busy month with some very interesting conversations and meetings, including the senior team of the Dalton Nuclear Institute and Director Zara Hodgson, to hear about new nuclear technologies, understand the implications of the UK’s Nuclear Roadmap and explore how IChemE can add value going forward.

I was very proud to commend some extraordinary contributions made by the chemical engineering community earlier this month, with the announcement of the 2024 IChemE medals and prize winners. One of the privileges of being IChemE President is being the first to officially congratulate those who are honoured by the Institution, so I was delighted to celebrate the 8 individuals and 5 groups of chemical and process engineers who are helping to shape the world with their groundbreaking work, exceptional expertise, and dedicated progress towards addressing our global challenges. Well done to all our worthy winners, who have set an inspiring standard of excellence for us all!

The March launch of the UK pilot of the Young Engineers Awards for Innovation and Sustainability (YEAIS) is the latest in our roll out of new initiatives. Dedicated to recognising new and emerging talent across chemical and process engineering, this event will celebrate the innovations of student and early-career chemical engineers aged 18–25, from a range of backgrounds and industries. I’m always enthusiastic about encouraging more input from our younger members, and this is a fantastic platform to nurture their ideas about how we can all contribute towards IChemE’s Priority Topics and begin to develop practical solutions for the benefit of society.

 We reached an important and timely milestone this month, with the exciting announcement of our joint hydrogen webinar series with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). This partnership is focused on advancing our shared interest in championing hydrogen knowledge transfer and accelerating the development of applications that can play a crucial role in the global transition to net zero. IChemE and AIChE have a key part to play in shaping the conversations and building public trust around sustainable, safe, and efficient processes for producing and using hydrogen. The webinars will be jointly hosted by IChemE and AIChE and launch in the second quarter of 2024, so keep an eye out for booking information coming soon; there will also be an annual conference series debuting in 2025. I’m looking forward to meeting the AIChE board and CEO in a few weeks when they visit the UK.

Having access to a supportive network of contacts is vital to any career, and I’m pleased to see that IChemE Connect is rapidly starting to gain pace, with over 1,300 members now having joined. This dynamic space has enormous potential for networking and knowledge exchange, and the platform has received a very positive response from those who are already contributing. To support this growing online community, we are beginning to introduce dedicated communities for Congress, member groups and special interest groups so that members can interact with each other on topics relevant to specific locations or subjects - so come and join the conversation.

Continuing the topic of supportive networking: the pilot phase of our career and development mentoring initiative is well underway, with twelve matches now confirmed between mentees and mentors, and more in the pipeline. Mentoring is one of the most important career connections you can form, so this is very promising news. This initiative will launch to the wider membership later in the year, but in the interim, if you would like to participate as a mentee and receive help with your next career move, support with your long-term development goals or advice on how to build a professional network, register your interest at

ChemUK is taking place at Birmingham’s NEC on 15 and 16 May, and I’m looking forward to giving a keynote address. These events are always great opportunities for me to meet and chat to IChemE members and non-members alike, and with hundreds of specialist exhibitors and expert speakers it’s an ideal event for networking and learning about innovation. If you’re interested in attending, register for your free visitor badge at ChemUK.

If you’re yet to renew your IChemE membership, make sure you do so straightaway to maintain your registration and enjoy uninterrupted access to all your exclusive range of member benefits and resources. Being part of IChemE gives you the chance to connect with like-minded professionals across a wide range of extensive global networks as well as access to a fantastic selection of resources to support your career and development goals. If you have any questions about your annual subscription, email and the team will be pleased to assist you.

I welcome input from all our members, so as always, if you have any ideas or questions you would like to put to me, please send me an email to I look forward to hearing from you.

February 2024 - Making new connections

January 2024 - Continuing the journey

December 2023 - A seasonal message

November 2023 - Collaborations and conversations

October 2023 - To mentor or be mentored, everybody wins!

September 2023 - Engineering a sustainable world

August 2023 - Futureproofing the profession

July 2023 - The hard work starts now!