IChemE Fellows Hutchings and Sherlock elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering

Article by Amanda Jasi

Left to right: Graham Hutchings, Jon-Paul Sherlock, and Marlene Kanga

GRAHAM HUTCHINGS and Jon-Paul Sherlock, both IChemE Fellows, have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) for their outstanding contributions to engineering. Meanwhile, Marlene Kanga, IChemE Honorary Fellow and chair of the IChemE Safety Centre, has been elected as an International Fellow of the Academy.

Hutchings CBE, regius professor of chemistry at Cardiff University, UK, is distinguished for his work pioneering the use of gold catalysts. He was the first to predict and subsequently demonstrate that gold would be a highly effective catalyst for acetylene hydrochlorination to produce vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), which is now commercialised extensively in Asia. This discovery led to a new field of applied catalysis, and he has subsequently pioneered the use of metal catalysts for several demanding applications that are undergoing commercialisation today. His early work as a researcher and plant manager at ICI led to discoveries with oxidation catalysts that are still commercially operated.

He said: “I am both deeply honoured and delighted to be elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering. I am looking forward to working within the Fellowship, addressing key aspects of sustainability that will be important for the future.”

Sherlock is a highly influential chemical engineer and serves as executive director for manufacturing technology strategy at AstraZeneca. He has played a major role in the transformation of medicines manufacturing both within AstraZeneca and across the sector, through introducing continuous processes and digital technology. His management and leadership of major projects as well as his personal innovative ideas have led to significant new products, processes, and practices.

Instrumental in creating, growing, and nurturing a strong engineering community within AstraZeneca, Sherlock has also provided leadership and influence across the UK research and innovation ecosystem by creating impactful, precompetitive industry-academia collaborations.

He said: “I am honoured and humbled to be recognised in this way by fellow engineers and leaders from industry and academia. I have been fortunate through my career to be provided opportunities to lead transformational projects with brilliant people and am consistently inspired by the impact engineers have. I look forward to supporting the Academy’s mission to harness the power of engineering to create a sustainable society and an inclusive economy and am proud to represent AstraZeneca in this effort. Thank you to the Academy and CEO Dr Hayaatun Sillem.”

Marlene Kanga, an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to engineering, is an inspiring leader, listed among Australia’s top women engineers. She was the national president of Engineers Australia (2013) and president of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (2017–2019). Leading organisations involving artificial intelligence, hydrogen software, utilities, and aviation, she contributed to hazardous industry safety regulations in Australia, now chairing the international IChemE Safety Centre (ISC).

Kanga successfully proposed UNESCO’s declaration of 4 March as World Engineering Day, led the transformation of international engineering education benchmarks, and leads international programmes for diversity, inclusion, and capacity building, especially in Africa.

She said: “I am deeply honoured to be elected as an International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. As an Honorary Fellow of IChemE and chair of the ISC and Major Hazards Committee, I look forward to engaging with the Academy on matters that are priorities to both organisations – on advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and advancing systematic approaches and best practices in process safety, and leading collaboration between the work of the ISC and the Academy Engineering X Programme, for a better, safer world.”

In joining the Fellowship, the new Fellows will lend their unique capabilities to achieving the Academy’s overarching strategic goal to harness the power of engineering to create a sustainable society and an inclusive economy for all.

The three IChemE members were among 73 leading figures in the field of engineering and technology elected to the Fellowship this year. Nominated and elected by existing Fellows, they join a community of almost 1,700 eminent engineers.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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