IChemE Matters – June 2024

Article by Nigel Hirst CEng FIChemE

Sophie Sheinwald

The four Cs

IT’S HARD to believe it’s been nearly a year since I took office, and I’ve reflected on my presidential address, where I spoke about my four planned areas of focus: collaboration, continuous learning, community, and choice. It’s been heartening to recognise how much has happened, and how much willingness there is for us to work together to build a sustainable future.


To achieve our vision of Engineering a Sustainable World, we need to make our voice heard, look beyond our own walls, and intensify our public engagement. Collaborating with stakeholders who have the knowledge and resources to achieve our mutual aims was a key focus during my presidency.
IChemE’s new policy and partnerships team was created to ensure the national strategic importance of chemical engineering is recognised, and the team convened roundtable discussions across Parliament, industry and academia on “Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) safety” and “Unlocking the workforce for the green transition” as well as promoting one-to-one collaborations to maximise our impact with government and policy-shapers.

We also need global collaboration to extend our reach, and our hydrogen alliance with AIChE is well underway, with the first webinar now available to book.

Continuous learning

Providing support for professional development was one of my priorities, with key new staff posts created to deliver against this objective. The drive to update our member platforms is continuous, and certificates, badges, and membership cards are now accessible digitally by logging into www.icheme.org/myicheme. I often speak about the importance of having a good mentor, and the pilot phase of our career and development mentoring initiative is going well, with more than a dozen matches confirmed between mentees and mentors, and more in the pipeline. Mentoring is one of the most important career connections you can form, so keep an eye out for the wider membership launch. 


Helping to generate an inclusive community for chemical and process engineers to contribute to society was a further focus during my presidential year. We have so much to learn from each other. The heart of our community is our volunteers –without their dedicated support we simply would not be able to continue to deliver our diverse range of products and services. We revealed our new volunteer handbook, in addition to IChemE’s new digital badge to thank our volunteers and recognise their contributions.

Our new global digital community, IChemE Connect, now has over 1,300 members. There is enormous potential for networking and knowledge exchange, so come and join the conversation.

The chemical engineering community also came together to generate the IChemE employment survey, with the insights into salary-earning maximisation factors, career stages, gender dynamics and sectoral trends, as well as the popular salary calculator, representing a valuable member benefit for chemical engineers navigating their career choices.


Maintaining a vibrant and thriving profession requires supporting future talent, so my focus on “choice” was to ensure that people are given opportunities to choose chemical engineering. Raising the profession’s profile, and where the skills and knowledge can take you, are key to promoting choice and enabling successful chemical engineering careers. Welcoming students into membership is vital, so it was great to see that waiving the student membership fee was met with such an enthusiastic response.

Our new DiscoverChemEng campaign produced a fantastic series of classroom posters, while we launched the UK pilot of the Young Engineers Awards for Innovation and Sustainability (YEAIS), which is a fantastic platform to nurture ideas about how we can all contribute towards practical solutions for the benefit of society; I’m looking forward to the finalists’ event in late June.

The future of chemical engineering certainly looks in good hands!

Article by Nigel Hirst CEng FIChemE

IChemE President

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