Climate change, circular economy, net zero carbon emissions and sustainability are centre of attention internationally and widely debated in the media and society. Chemical engineers play a central role in helping to achieve the essential targets to address these societal challenges.However, the question of effective education of future generations of chemical engineers in knowledge and skills necessary to address these challenges.
The importance of sustainability in the professional formation of chemical engineers has been recognised widely and higher education providers world-wide have been introducing sustainability into the curricula over the past decades. The other topics are attracting more attention in recent years, particular with significant changes in our environment recently. This contribution will review the current trends in societal role of chemical engineers and in the chemical engineering curriculum development, highlighting means of increasing the perception of the importance of sustainability in the professional formation. The recent drive of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) through their recent Climate change position statement and the subsequent changes in the accreditation requirements will be highlighted. Several examples of approaches to integrating sustainability themes into higher education will then be presented. These may serve as examples of good practice to any professional practitioners wishing to develop life-learning approaches for sustainability.
Jarka Glassey is a Professor of Chemical Engineering Education at Newcastle University. She is the immediate past VP Learned Society of the IChemE and led its Education Special Interest Group until recently. She is also actively involved in the European Society for Biochemical Engineering Sciences (ESBES) and is currently serving as its Executive VP. She has an internationally recognised expertise in chemical engineering education and is a National Teaching Fellow and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her research focuses on bioprocess modelling, optimisation and rapid process development utilising machine learning and other digitalisation tools. In pedagogical research she focuses on the use of active methodologies to effectively deliver core and employability competencies in chemical engineering education.