ICHEME has identified three priority topics and published Learned Society Priority Topics to 2024, which sets out how the Institution will address these focus areas over the coming years.
Digitalisation, major hazards management, and responsible production were chosen by IChemE’s Learned Society Committee (LSC), with input from volunteer special interest groups (SIGs) and other members to develop the areas for prioritisation within the learned society. Formed in 2019, the LSC is responsible for offering strategic direction to IChemE’s technical priorities.
Learned Society Priority Topics to 2024 sets out IChemE’s vision in the priority areas, within the scope of Strategy 2024, and details what the Institution plans to achieve this year, and by the end of 2024. Strategy 2024 is IChemE’s ambitious five-year plan, which then-President Ken Rivers explained in 2019.
On completion of the current strategy, IChemE aims to deliver tangible outputs on several aspects of sustainability and responsible production. These include climate change, ethics, systems engineering, and life cycle analysis. In the short term, work in the area will influence IChemE’s involvement in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the major hazard management area, IChemE’s ambition is to be a peer-group leader in knowledge sharing, as well as learning from others.
Under its digitalisation priority, IChemE will provide thought leadership on the effect on chemical engineering professionals of digital technologies and skill areas, enabled by ethical leadership, organisational aspects, and life-long learning. IChemE also aims to prepare professionals for the future.
Following the launch of IChemE’s position on climate change in 2020, a key deliverable highlighted within the priority topics document for 2021 includes climate change action plans for specific industry sectors and technologies. The plans are being developed by the Institution’s SIGs and coordinated by the LSC.
After IChemE published is climate change position statement last year, Energy Centre Chair Mark Apsey provided further detail on how the statement was developed. Since then, the Energy Centre has transitioned to the Energy Community of Practice, of which Apsey remains Chair.
Strategy 2024 sets out IChemE’s goal of gaining recognition as a “vibrant learned society” that materially impacts on the Global Grand Challenges. Chemical engineers already play a key role in addressing many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), putting the Institution in a “unique position” that will allow it to contribute to the debate and effect change. IChemE’s chosen priority topics form a key part of this ambition.
Jarka Glassey, VP of IChemE’s Learned Society, said: “Establishing a clear set of focus topics, a shared vision of where we want to be, and a clear plan for how we will get there allows IChemE to bring together the diversity and expert capabilities of our members to deliver a more united, focussed response to these societal challenges.
“IChemE is already a vibrant learned society with 19 special interest groups and 35 member groups spanning 11 countries. Volunteers across the Institution work hard to deliver a broad and stimulating programme of activities across a huge range of topics with activities taking place almost every day, many of which already align with the priority topics.
“We hope that this document will sharpen the focus of our delivery and inspire more people – members and external partners alike – to engage in IChemE’s learned society work.”
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