Aitken awarded Ambassador Prize as IChemE unveils 2024 medals winners

Article by Amanda Jasi

JENNIFER AITKEN has posthumously been awarded IChemE’s Ambassador Prize in recognition of her leadership and mentoring commitment, technical acumen, and outstanding work in pharmaceutical process design and safety. She is among eight individuals and five groups recognised today with medals and prizes from the Institution.

IChemE medals and prizes are awarded annually, and celebrate the remarkable achievements of individuals, universities, and companies, encompassing an array of talent from both industry and academia.

Aitken, who died unexpectedly last October, was a dedicated chemical engineer. Her leadership and technical acumen are highlighted by her significant roles in IChemE’s Pharma Special Interest Group (SIG) and Learned Society Review Committee, along with her influential work in process safety. She was also dedicated to advancing the field, shown through her commitment to mentoring and guiding up and coming engineers, along with contributions to several articles in The Chemical Engineer.

IChemE past president Geoff Maitland was recognised with the Greene Medal for his dedicated, wide-ranging, and outstanding contribution to IChemE’s work, progress, and public profile. Alongside his role as president, Maitland’s contributions over the course of 40 years include serving on journal editorial boards; judging award entries; speaking to the media on IChemE’s behalf; chairing its Research Committee; and serving on its Benevolent Fund and the Succession Planning Committee.

Also among the winners is early careers researcher Binjian Nie. He was awarded the Nicklin Medal for excellence in research and impact in the field of thermal batteries, which he pioneered for green chemical process engineering and sustainable chemical and fuel production.

Meanwhile, team awardees included Christopher Honig, Shannon Rios, and Eduardo Oliveira from the University of Melbourne, Australia. They won the Hanson Medal for their “thought-provoking” and “forward-looking” appraisal article, A Tool for Learning: Classroom Use-cases for Generative AI. The piece considers how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used as a tool in chemical engineering teaching, offering examples to educators on how they can apply the technology.

IChemE Fellow Mark Simmons, who chairs the IChemE Medals and Prizes Committee, said: “We are delighted to award these individuals and teams our profession’s highest accolades. Chemical engineers are constantly creating important new frontiers through their collective pursuit of knowledge, innovation, and positive impact, and this was evident in the impressive breadth and scope of the nominations. The submissions demonstrated world-leading examples of research, teaching, and thought leadership, as well as outstanding volunteer service.”

IChemE president Nigel Hirst, said: “I am proud to commend these extraordinary contributions made by the chemical engineering community. The IChemE medals and prizes honour and celebrate those who are helping to shape the world with groundbreaking work, exceptional expertise, and dedicated progress towards addressing our global challenges. Congratulations to all of our very worthy winners, who have set an inspiring standard of excellence for us all.”

A full list of medal and prize winners with further information on their achievements is available here. Winners will be celebrated during webinars throughout the year.

Nominations and entries for the 2025 IChemE Medals and Prizes will open on 2 April 2024.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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