New IChemE President wants chemical engineers to ‘be the change’

14 June 2024

The incoming President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) made a powerful call in his Presidential Address, reminding chemical engineers that the stakes of climate change are high and urging them to ‘be the change’.

Mark Apsey MBE FIChemE delivered his Presidential Address today (13 June 2024) from the Royal Society of Chemistry in London, UK, with members, trustees and invited guests present, and many watching live online.

Stressing that chemical engineers can use their unique abilities to make a profound impact on addressing climate change, Mark referenced IChemE’s 2022 climate change position statement to underscore his conviction that chemical engineers should always put obligations to the natural environment at the front of their minds. Voicing his belief that chemical engineers “should be proud of the things we have contributed to society”, Mark asked the profession to consider how they can continue to make a difference for the better, and lead the way to a sustainable world by striving to re-design and re-engineer processes, just as they have led the way on process safety.

A keen historian, Mark themed his address on ‘History, science, and engineering a sustainable future’. He explored the dimension of time, taking his audience back to 1771, when the birth of large-scale production laid the foundations for the discipline of chemical engineering. He referenced Svante Arrhenius’ work on atmospheric CO2 and global temperature in the late 1800s, reflecting on his own first career project building a carbon dioxide recovery plant.


View from the UK: Essential Coatings

Entering his presidential year, Mark noted the achievements of chemical engineering in enabling massive innovations in the way we live, while challenging the profession to consider how – in the light of global challenges – it needs to move forward. He set out his intention to use IChemE’s convening power to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration and achieve more meaningful co-operation with governments, industry partners, employers, academia and the public. By doing this, he said, chemical engineers everywhere can further understanding and appreciation of the profession and achieve the Institution’s vision.

Mark reiterated his commitment to helping the profession to find its voice by uncovering and amplifying stories of chemical engineers delivering exceptional work, calling for members to participate in IChemE’s new ‘How I Did It’ campaign by sharing their stories and experiences. He outlined how this and other initiatives, including the Chemical Engineering Challenge Report, will help put chemical engineering firmly on the map. Mark drew particular attention to IChemE’s Sustainability Hub, a knowledge and training resource to support the development of sustainability and systems thinking skills for chemical engineers.

In a Q&A session following his address, Mark spoke of his hopes of inspiring the next generation of diverse talent to meet the challenges humanity faces, including encouraging more schools and teachers globally to access support via IChemE’s UN SDG-aligned DiscoverChemEng campaign. Reflecting on the need to encourage yet more young people to study chemical engineering, Mark spoke of his delight that the University of Exeter – his alma mater – is preparing to relaunch chemical engineering as a degree course, supported by IChemE.

Related keywords

< Previous article

Dürr paint shop with EcoQPower requires about 21% less energy

Next article >

Huntsman inaugurates new innovation centre in Tienen, Belgium