Public Engagement for a Sustainable World

Article by Alexandra Meldrum FIChemE and Amit Verma AMIChemE

Alexandra Meldrum and Amit Verma share how IChemE members have been working to shape policy and public conversation

MEMBERS want IChemE to provide thought leadership and to speak up on matters of policy. Chemical engineers can materially impact the major challenges facing society. By using professional knowledge and expertise, and collaborating with others, the work of chemical engineers sustainably benefits the global community.

Thought leadership

Many of the member communities and projects supported by the Learned Society Committee promote thought leadership. Examples include:

Roadmap for the profession
In December 2022, IChemE published its updated Chemical Engineering Matters, the technical roadmap for chemical and process engineering. This document provides guidance about the scope and direction of the profession, and is valuable for students, academics, professionals, industry and government. It also provides a basis to inform our policy work.

Consultation and a new roadmap
In 2023, IChemE is consulting with members and Congress ahead of publishing a new technical roadmap in early 2024. Our world has seen rapid growth, disruption and technology change, with new and accelerating trends and challenges. The consultation gives members an opportunity to have a say and share their experience, and will provide strategic input about the future direction of the profession as the world changes rapidly.

Climate Action
Actions are guided by and tracked against the commitments in the IChemE Position on Climate Change. IChemE’s work on net zero greenhouse gas emissions is starting to drive climate action within IChemE itself. Our current work on the just transition will support IChemE’s aim to take a lead role in tackling climate change, working with stakeholders, from governments to communities around the world, to deliver a fair, safe and sustainable future in which all can thrive.

Process safety and major hazards management
IChemE’s safety community developed guidance on how the UK Engineering Council’s six guiding principles on how professional engineers and technicians should identify, assess, manage and communicate about risk applies to chemical engineers. The Major Hazards Committee is working on two major projects about process safety competence and lessons learned, and we look forward to making the first publications shortly in 2023.

A range of projects have aimed to lift awareness and skills in digitalisation for the profession, including articles in The Chemical Engineer, blog posts, a series of fact sheets on cyber security matters in the process industries, and workshops for the academic community with the new accreditation requirements in artificial intelligence, systems and security.

A global hydrogen alliance
IChemE and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) signed a letter of intent to collaborate on building a global alliance. The alliance will give the organisations a shared global platform from which to support industry in the adoption of hydrogen as an energy carrier that will form a vital part of the road to net zero.

A new type of model contract
In May, IChemE published the Blue Book form of contract for the provision of engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for the project management, design, procurement, construction supervision and commissioning services of process plants. See page 50 for more details.

Medals and prizes programme
This year’s medals and prizes are currently being awarded through a series of webinars given by the winners, who are being recognised for their achievements and service. This programme also provides role models, supports sustainable actions and ensures knowledge sharing of thought leadership.

The points above only touch on the many and varied thought leadership achievements of our institution. These contribute to the development and sharing of knowledge, skills and research – driving continuous improvement in sustainable, efficient and safe operations, and increasing awareness and understanding of how chemical and process engineering contributes to society.

By using professional knowledge and expertise, and collaborating with others, the work of chemical engineers sustainably benefits the global community

Article By

Alexandra Meldrum FIChemE

Vice president of IChemE’s Learned Society and member of the Board of Trustees

She is a chemical engineer and economist, who has worked in Australia in leadership roles in government in NSW Department of Industry and led the Office of the Productivity Commissioner in Treasury.

Amit Verma AMIChemE

Policy manager at IChemE

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