Making a difference with chemical engineering research: Personal career journeys

Industrial and academic research is critical to solving long-term, grand and global challenges In chemical engineering. So it’s crucial to support and encourage next gen chemical engineers. However, a 2021 survey by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) suggested that the purpose and possibilities of such research were not always clear to early-career students and showed the need for holistic insight into the field.

Members of IChemE’s Research and Innovation Community of Practice (R&I CoP) thus interviewed people who worked (or had worked) in chemical engineering research across a wide range of academic and industrial sectors, asking about their career journeys, goals, and how their perceptions of chemical engineering research had changed over time. The resulting narratives, says IChemE, ‘showcase the dynamic minds shaping the future of their field’.

These fascinating accounts have been compiled in a new IChemE publication titled ‘Making a difference in chemical engineering research ‒ Personal career journeys’.

Professor Cordelia Selomulya in the UNSW School of Chemical Engineering lab beside a microfluidic spray dryer. Credit: Future Food Systems

Cordelia Selomulya FIChemE, Professor at the School of Chemical Engineering at University of New South Wales Sydney (UNSW), Australia, R&ICoP Chair and Future Food Systems’ Research & Commercialisation Director, is excited to introduce the compilation to promising and prospective ChemEng researchers.

“The personal journey of researchers in the continuously evolving landscape of chemical engineering research, particularly at the early stage of their careers, is a captivating narrative of passion, perseverance, and innovation,” Prof. Selomulya says. “This collection of stories demonstrates the diverse paths these researchers have taken, the challenges they’ve conquered and continue to face, and the transformative impact they aspire to achieve.

“The interviews serve as direct insights into the experiences, aspirations and personal philosophies that help enable chemical engineering progress.

“I sincerely wish that this booklet had existed 20-something years ago when I started my own academic career as a young PhD graduate. From new discoveries to innovative methodologies, the journey of these early-career researchers not only inspires, but provides invaluable insights for those following in their footsteps.

“I hope this booklet can be a source of motivation for aspiring researchers everywhere who continue tirelessly to propel our world forward.”

Source: New year – new PhD? I Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)

Lead image: IChemE Chem Eng researchers’ stories have been compiled into an insightful compilation. Image courtesy of the Institution of Chemical Engineers