Sharing knowledge on sustainability, safety and digitalisation

Sharing knowledge on sustainability, safety and digitalisation

18th August 2021

Following the identification of the Learned Society’s priority topics earlier in the year, IChemE has launched a new website area to focus on Responsible Production, Major Hazards Management and Digitalisation. We caught up with Alexandra Meldrum to find out more.

Alexandra Meldrum

Name: Alexandra Meldrum

Organisations: University of New South Wales (UNSW), Macquarie University and Australian Institute of Management (AIM)

IChemE roles: Vice President (Learned Society), Chair Learned Society Committee and previously Leader Digitalisation Priority Topic

Bio: In speeches, I say I work in the “essentials of life”. Chemical engineers take a central role in tackling the Global Grand Challenges for our society – including those in food, water, climate change, energy, safety and health. I’m a senior executive and director with 25 years of experience in industry, universities, not-for-profit organisations and government.

“IChemE’s ambition, as set out in Strategy 2024, is to be recognised as a vibrant learned society that materially impacts on the Global Grand Challenges. With so many challenges needing attention, the Learned Society Committee identified three priority topics where IChemE members could make a real impact:

  1. Responsible Production
  2. Major Hazards Management, and
  3. Digitalisation.

Chemical engineers are well placed to contribute to the Global Grand Challenges and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Having a clear set of priority topics and a shared vision allows IChemE to respond effectively.

Since the launch of the priority topics, much activity has already taken place with numerous projects in progress and more planned. To share information on the work taking place, a new area of the IChemE website has been created to host priority topic updates.

Clearly, sharing expert knowledge is key to the initiative’s success so I am thrilled with the new website area as it’s really easy to find out all about the priority topics and see how much members are contributing in these important areas.

The web area contains an overview of the priority topics and then splits into three sections organised per topic. Each priority topic section includes its own vision and aims, biographies of the members who are leading activity in each area, details of active projects as well as links to information that can be found on each topic in the Knowledge Hub, IChemE journals and The Chemical Engineer.

My favourite element is the ‘You may be interested in…’ page within each priority topic section which links to highlights on that topic which may be found in press releases, blog posts, The Chemical Engineer articles or elsewhere on the website.

Within the Responsible Production priority topic there is a whole host of information on the work addressing the commitments within IChemE’s position on climate change, as well as details on the electrolytic hydrogen project which we’ve just launched.

Moving on to the Major Hazards Management priority topic, the major hazards agenda document can be downloaded which outlines how IChemE will develop and set the strategies that will result in promotion of good practice and continual improvement in major hazards management across industry.

In the Digitalisation priority topic area, you can link to a series of articles in The Chemical Engineer which cover digitalisation and digital technologies, written in collaboration with IChemE’s special interest groups, communities of practice, expert members and member communities.

Thanks to an almighty team of volunteers, IChemE is already a vibrant learned society. Focusing on these priority topics will enable us to use members’ expert knowledge and experience to create transformative change in these critical areas.

I encourage you to visit the priority topics website to find out how IChemE is looking to make a real difference and serve society by helping to address the Global Grand Challenges for our society.

If you’re feeling inspired by reading about the priority topics and would like to get involved, consider joining one of our Special Interest Groups or drop us as line at

To visit the priority topics area of the website, visit