Keynote Presentation

KEYNOTE: Chemical Engineering meets the Real World

Time & Location

Thursday: 13.00 to 13.30, Stage 4

Keynote Speaker

Professor Jonathan SevilleProfessor of Formulation Engineering, University of Birmingham (Past President, IChemE)

About this presentation

The trouble with setting any sort of agenda for a profession like Chemical Engineering is that we all live in the Real World, where things are messier than we might like and have an annoying habit of changing on a shorter timescale than it takes to educate and train an engineer.

How do we remain agile and stay relevant? Chemical Engineering is all about analysis of complex systems and that doesn’t just mean processes in pipes. The subject – like most academic subjects – is not just a set of facts and skills but a way of thinking which can be applied to much bigger problems, including rational design of a responsible manufacturing economy which recognises global limits and the need for human wellbeing.

This talk includes some examples of the ways in which the subject is widening its scope. Engineering is not just an education and a training but it is – above all – a profession, which means that we have duties towards the society in which we live.

Some of the professions have taken a battering lately; I will argue that it is to the benefit of all that we take our professional status seriously, act ethically and responsibly and enhance the idea of the professional engineer in the public mind.

Speaker Bio:

Jonathan Seville – Member, IChemE Learned Society Committee

Jonathan Seville has been a Member of the IChemE Learned Society Committee since 2022, for which he leads the Responsible Production activity. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of

Engineering and a Fellow and Past-President of IChemE (2016-17).

He has degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Universities of Cambridge and Surrey.

Before returning in 2017 to his current post as Professor at the University of Birmingham, Jonathan was Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Surrey (2011-2016), Dean of Engineering at the University of Warwick (2008-11), and Head of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham (1998-2008), where he established the UK’s first research centre in Formulation Engineering (2001) and co-founded the Positron Imaging Centre, which has pioneered the use of positron-emitting radioactive tracers in engineering studies. Throughout his career, Jonathan has championed the application of chemical engineering to the design and manufacture of products for the pharmaceutical, home care and fast-moving consumer goods industries. He is also active in energy and environment related projects, including the development and design of processes for chemical recycling of plastics.

Jonathan formerly represented IChemE on the Board of the Engineering Council, for which he also chaired the Engineering Council Registration Standards Committee (2016-19) and he is past chair of the RAEng Education and Skills Committee (2017-2020).