IChemE urges next UK government to sustainably transform energy and industry

Article by Amanda Jasi

ICHEME has drawn on its new technical challenge report to set out a vision for how the next government should play its part in achieving a sustainable world. This follows PM Rishi Sunak’s announcement that the next UK general election will be on 4 July.

Nigel Hirst, president of IChemE, said: “The next government will take office at a critical moment and will face urgent and difficult decision-making across engineering-driven sectors. Government has a central role to play in supporting the transformation of the UK’s energy and industrial systems, as well as creating environments that promote innovation and collaboration, and help drive investment into a UK research and development landscape that is fit to thrive in the long term.

"The government is also an important catalyst in supporting the chemical engineering community to deploy our world-leading expertise as we strive to embed sustainability at the centre of safe and ethical engineering thinking and practice.”

IChemE wants the next government to:

  • recognise the pivotal role of chemical and process engineers, and their disciplines, in achieving a sustainable world and in the transition towards this goal
  • designate chemical engineering as a subject of national strategic importance, alongside explicit references to chemical engineering in relevant discussions, documents, and legislation
  • prioritise funding for research into key chemical engineering-related topics, for example:
    • rapid process intensification and scaleup
    • decarbonisation of energy generation
    • engineering biology scaleup and industrialisation
    • energy storage system technology
  • prioritise chemical engineering education and training at all levels; supporting significant expansions in technical and apprenticeship, undergraduate, post-graduate, and post-doctoral routes as well as reinstatement of National Engineering Scholarships, designed to encourage and enable young people from currently underrepresented groups to engage

Hirst concluded that the policy moves IChemE is requesting, and will be lobbying for, “set out how the government can materially help our profession to deliver against our global goals, create societal benefits, and make achieving a sustainable world a reality.”

IChemE said it looks forward to engaging on these crucial issues throughout the election campaign, and with the new UK government when it takes office on 5 July.

The Institution’s policy team will be working directly to pursue these priorities, in addition to collaborating closely with key partners such as the National Engineering Policy Centre, which offers expert engineering insight to policymakers, helping to shape critical decisions.

To discover more about the Institution’s policy asks, and the framework for how chemical and process engineers, employers, IChemE, and policymakers should focus on meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, read IChemE’s newly released report Engineering a Sustainable World: The Chemical Engineering Challenge.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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