Providing Help, Staying Safe

Article by Stephen Richardson CEng FIChemE

As The Chemical Engineer goes to print, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is such that we find ourselves in a period that will leave its mark on many facets of our daily lives, both personally and corporately. In the face of such hardship, I wanted to offer the community a reminder of IChemE’s benevolent fund. 

Those automatically eligible for help from the fund are current or former IChemE members and their dependants.  However, the trustees can also extend support to those who have worked in the chemical engineering environment and for whom the cause of their distress can be attributed to this environment.

The eligibility criteria are essentially based upon a need that arises unexpectedly causing hardship and which can generally, but not necessarily, mean that financial support is sought.  This can be in the form of one-off grants, ongoing payments or loans. The fund can also help with counselling and advice.

I would like to use this opportunity to reassure our members that the Institution is working hard to ensure continuity across the range of services that we provide

If, during this challenging time, you are fortunate enough to be in a position to help others, please consider making a donation to the fund. For more information please visit; those seeking assistance should in the first instance contact Sharon-Claire Sandhu at

From my recent visits to IChemE’s community of volunteers and employers, I am very much aware of the increasing restrictions placed on offices and work sites to reduce the spread of illness. Indeed, the Institution’s staff are not exempt from the current difficulties and this week mitigation measures have been instigated, including closing all offices and asking staff to work from home. Please bear this in mind if you are attempting to contact the teams in the coming months. I would therefore ask that you engage electronically and avoid paper transactions wherever possible. The staff and I will aim to keep you informed of any change to key information as and when it happens through this magazine and on the IChemE website. 

You will all by now be aware that public gatherings have been discouraged across the world and, following the advice of national governments, we have taken the decision to postpone the upcoming Hazards 30 conference until later in 2020. The event will now take place on 30 November–2 December and further information can be found at

Other events are likely to be similarly impacted and further updates will be published on the IChemE website. We have also made significant changes to our upcoming training course calendar, with some courses being cancelled, others being rescheduled and many being delivered virtually. To support members and the wider chemical engineering community, we will be offering an expanded range of online training courses this year. More details will be shared with all members shortly.

For more information about upcoming courses please visit

I would also like to use this opportunity to reassure our members that the Institution is working hard to ensure continuity across the range of services that we provide. In particular I want to thank those members who are already working with IChemE staff to positively and proactively manage our responses to these difficult circumstances.

In the meantime, my thoughts and best wishes are with all members across the community. Please stay safe.

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Article by Stephen Richardson CEng FIChemE

IChemE President

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