Chemical engineering careers in the bioeconomy 2020 - IChemE

 
Chemical engineering careers in the bioeconomy 2020 - IChemE
BioFutures

Chemical engineering
careers in the bioeconomy

A selection of career profiles
Chemical engineering careers in the bioeconomy 2020 - IChemE
Foreword

In December 2018, IChemE published the final report of its BioFutures Programme.1 The report recognised the
need for chemical engineers to have a greater diversity of knowledge and skills and to be able to apply these
to the grand challenges facing society, as recognised by the UN Sustainable Development Goals2 and the NAE
Grand Challenges for Engineering.3 These include the rapid development of the bioeconomy, pressure to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, and an increased emphasis on responsible and sustainable production. One of the
recommendations from the BioFutures report prioritised by IChemE’s Board of Trustees was for IChemE to produce
and promote new career profiles to showcase the roles of chemical engineers in the bioeconomy, in order to raise
awareness of their contribution.
It gives me great pleasure to present this collection of careers profiles submitted by members of the chemical
engineering community. Each one of these career profiles demonstrates the impact made by chemical engineers
across the breadth of the bioeconomy, including water, energy, food, manufacturing, and health and wellbeing.
In 2006, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defined the bioeconomy as “the
aggregate set of economic operations in a society that uses the latent value incumbent in biological products and
processes to capture new growth and welfare benefits for citizens and nations”.4 This definition includes the use
of biological feedstocks and/or processes which involve biotechnology to generate economic outputs. The output
in terms of products and services may be in the form of chemicals, food, pharmaceuticals, materials or energy.
The growth of the bioeconomy is viewed to be central to achieving many of the UN Sustainable Development
Goals, transitioning towards sustainable consumption and tackling climate change by reducing dependence on
non-renewable feedstocks. This growth demands innovation and realisation of new technologies, underpinned by
essential knowledge and skills.
As chemical engineers we must continue to support, be encouraged and evolve our knowledge to encompass new
advances in engineering biology, synthetic biology and industrial biotechnology. I hope that this booklet provides
inspiration to students who decide to study chemical engineering; to the professionals who work in engineering;
to the companies operating in the biosector interested in the skills a chemical engineer can bring to their operation;
and to the public, to help develop their understanding of the role that chemical engineering plays in society.
As demonstrated by the career profiles presented here, a career in chemical engineering is a journey, and there are
many different doors to open and many different roads to exciting new opportunities. For some people this journey
may start with a chemical engineering degree, but others may enter through other degree subjects or as apprentices
or technicians. All have an important role to play. I wish all reading this all the very best in their own journey!

Dr James Winterburn AMIChemE
Chair, IChemE Biochemical Engineering Special Interest Group

1
  https://www.icheme.org/media/8634/biofutures-final-report-v5.pdf
2
  https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/
  http://www.engineeringchallenges.org/
                                                                                                                         3 5
3
4
  http://www.oecd.org/sti/emerging-tech/34823102.pdf
Chemical engineering careers in the bioeconomy 2020 - IChemE
Contents

            Job title                                  Country   Sector     Page
                                                                                                         N Associate Director Technology (Biologics)                    34

            A Asia Pacific Process Discipline Leader                          8
                                                                                                         O Tech Transfer Lead                                           36

            B Technical Plant Engineer                                        10
                                                                                                         P Senior Manager                                               38

            C Production Engineer                                             12
                                                                                                         Q Chief Operating Officer                                      40

            D Energy from Waste Plant Engineer                                14
                                                                                                         R Graduate Process Engineer                                    42

            E Biomass Process Commissioning Engineer                          16
                                                                                                         S Process Engineer                                             44

            F   President/CEO                                                 18
                                                                                                         T Capital Projects Manager                                     46

            G Whey Intake Production Manager                                  20
                                                                                                         U Principal Consultant                                         48

            H Process Engineer                                                22

            I   Process Engineer                                              24
                                                                                                                Water

            J   Lecturer in Healthcare Technologies                           26
                                                                                                                Energy

            K Lead Scientist                                                  28
                                                                                                                Food and Nutrition

            L Bioprocess Consultant                                           30
                                                                                                                Health and Wellbeing

            M	Associate Director, Consultancy and                            32
               Laboratory Operations                                                                            Bioprocess Design and Manufacturing
                                                                                                                                                                                      F
                                                            K        E             I
                                              H                                                  G       A                                             M
                          B                            C         D            S              J                       T                 U
                                                                                                     L                                            O        Q
                                R                                                                            N                    P

                                                                                                                                                                             Career5stage
Education
                                   Early career                           Early-mid career                               Senior                                Executive/Board
Chemical engineering careers in the bioeconomy 2020 - IChemE
Introduction

    Chemical engineers play an important role in increasing and maintaining quality of life. This is recognised in                                       Biotechnology can also be applied to aquaculture                                   water, eg bioaugmentation, which is commonly used in
    Chemical Engineering Matters and can be visualised through the chemical engineering model with the four                                              where the versatility and different properties of                                  municipal wastewater treatment.
    challenge themes being affected by cross-cutting issues and concerns, all fundamental to the chemical engineer and                                   microorganisms such as algae makes them suitable for a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ultimately, the purpose of this document is to raise
    their skillset.                                                                                                                                      wide range of applications. These include as a potential
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            awareness of the impact that chemical engineers have in
                                                                                                                                                         feedstock for commercial biofuel production in the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the world, to highlight the wide range of opportunities
                                                                                                                                                         future, for use in water filtration systems, or as additives
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            available to chemical engineering graduates, and
                                                                                                                                                         in food such as infant formula and ice cream or as a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            to inspire the next generation of students when
                                                                                  Quality of life
                                                                                                                                                         source of omega 3 fatty acids in nutritional supplements

                                  Sustainability
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            considering their options post-secondary education.
                                                                                                                                                         as an alternative to fish oils – beneficial for vegan and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The possibilities are endless, and contrary to the
                                                                                                                                                         vegetarian consumers!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            stereotype that chemical engineering can only lead
                                                                                                                                                         Chemical engineers also have a fundamental role in                                 to careers in the oil and gas industry. This document
                                                                                                                                                         environmental protection, biosafety, and biosecurity.                              presents a small number of potential career paths that
                                                                                                                                                         They play a key role in designing systems for the                                  chemical engineering graduates may follow upon
                                      Resourcing and manufacturing
      Essential issues and concerns

                                                                                                                                                         safe and efficient disposal of waste as well as the                                completing their education. The illustration below
                                                                                                                                                         development of bioremediation processes and                                        further highlights some of the areas open to chemical
                                                                                                                                                         technologies which utilise microorganisms to remove                                engineers wishing to pursue careers in the bioeconomy.
                                      Process safety
                                                                                                                                                         contaminants, pollutants, and toxins from soil and

                                                                                                          Health and wellbeing
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Chemical engineering careers in the bioeconomy 2020 - IChemE
John
    McAndrew
    Asia Pacific Process Discipline Leader
    Stantec
    Dunedin, New Zealand

    Degree(s) – year, subject and      2003 – M
                                               Eng Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology, University
    university                                of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), UK
                                                                                                                          What is the best thing about        Understanding the importance of relationships and networks. You don’t always
                                       2004 – MSc Clean Technology, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK                 your job and working in the         need to know how to do everything, but if you know someone who does
                                                                                                                          bioeconomy?                         and the right questions to ask, then combined with your core analytical and
                                                                                                                                                              engineering skills you can deliver powerful solutions.
    Apart from your degree/            IChemE Fellow (FIChemE)
    further degree, have you taken
    any further qualifications or      Chartered Chemical Engineer (CEng) professional registration                       What does it take to do your        Having a positive impact on the environment. Adopting biological solutions is a
    professional memberships and                                                                                          job (skills, strengths and          great way to achieve this and we can learn a lot from natural processes.
    professional registrations?                                                                                           knowledge)?                         Work hard, work well with other people, understand their perspective, ask lots
                                                                                                                                                              of questions.

    What is your role and how do       I am a consultant process engineer in the water sector. My role includes
    you apply the principles of        the selection and design of processes to treat wastewater as well as               What are the biggest challenges     Taking a step back from the pressure of day-to-day technical project delivery to
    chemical/biochemical processing    commissioning, optimisation and troubleshooting. I use core chemical               in your job?                        be a little more strategic and look to the future.
    engineering?                       engineering principles like process modelling; unit process selection and
                                       sizing; and of course, ‘safety in design’.
                                                                                                                          What do you think is the same       Similarities: common unit processes and technologies.
                                                                                                                          as other chemistry or process
    Please briefly outline your        After graduation I completed a master’s degree which included an industrial        related industries and what         Differences: wastewater ‘feedstock’ is inconsistent, and we need to treat
    journey from graduation to your    placement. I spent three months conducting a waste minimisation study at a         do you think are the main           whatever we get.
    current role.                      chemical plant and was eventually offered a permanent role.                        differences?
    Was there anything in particular
    that helped? Eg did you have       After three years working at the chemical plant, I moved into the water sector
    a mentor that inspired or          and after two years in Warrington (UK) I relocated to Australia ... eight years    What do you think sets the          There’s a lot we can learn from nature and working in the biosector is a chance
    supported your journey?            later I moved to New Zealand.                                                      biosector apart as a good place     to really embrace this and make a positive contribution to society and our
                                                                                                                          to work?                            planet.

    When you started your degree       The enduring theme has been that I always wanted to do something which
    and when you graduated, what       is making a difference to the environment and our planet. I have found that a      What is the most exciting part of   The push for resource recovery and the change in perception from wastewater
    were your career aspirations –     career in chemical engineering is a powerful tool to do this in a whole range of   working in the biosector/in your    treatment plants to resource recovery plants.
    did you know what you wanted       industries.                                                                        company?
    to do?                                                                                                                                                    Working in a global company means there are lots of phenomenally talented
                                                                                                                                                              people to learn from and diverse project opportunities.

                                                                                                                          What are some of the exciting       The water industry is really excited about producing ‘products’ from
                                                                                                                          recent developments in your         wastewater like bioplastics and power – which is really cool.
                                                                                                                          sector/company?

                                                                                                                          What are your top tips for          Look for as much work experience as you can during your studies and be
                                                                                                                          current students and anyone         flexible about the type of work you try.
                                                                                                                          considering a career as a
                                                                                                                          chemical/biochemical engineer
                                                                                                                          in the biosector?

8                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                9 5
Chemical engineering careers in the bioeconomy 2020 - IChemE
Molly
                                                                                                                             What does it take to do your        Fundamental engineering and chemistry knowledge are essential.
                                                                                                                             job (skills, strengths and          Thermodynamics is relevant for energy production processes and knowledge
                                                                                                                             knowledge)?                         of predictive modelling is advantageous. Innovative thinking is also important

     Bell
                                                                                                                                                                 to address issues with inconsistency with waste composition.

                                                                                                                             What are the biggest challenges     As a young engineer, my main challenge is lack of experience. I am working
     Technical Plant Engineer,                                                                                               in your job?                        hard to improve my knowledge of all aspects of SUEZ, including landfill and
     UK Energy Division                                                                                                                                          processing. I’ve increased in confidence and look forward to being handed
                                                                                                                                                                 further responsibility in the future.
     SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK
     North East, UK
                                                                                                                             What do you think is the same       It is difficult to say as my experience is solely in the biosector. The
                                                                                                                             as other chemistry or process       fundamentals of chemical engineering apply to most industries, but each
                                                                                                                             related industries and what         sector requires specific knowledge. Some industries are optimising existing
                                                                                                                             do you think are the main           processes; however, the biosector demands new skills and technologies in
                                                                                                                             differences?                        order to find solutions to challenges the world faces today, such as global
     Degree(s) – year, subject and       2017 – BEng Chemical Engineering, Newcastle University, UK                                                              warming.
     university

                                                                                                                             What do you think sets the          The waste industry is constantly changing and developing, leaving room for
     Apart from your degree/             IChemE Associate Member (AMIChemE)                                                  biosector apart as a good place     engineers to be involved with a wide variety of projects. Additionally, we need
     further degree, have you taken                                                                                          to work?                            to work with the community to shape its views/thinking towards waste and its
     any further qualifications or       I may complete a Master’s, which will facilitate career development and                                                 disposal.
     professional memberships and        support me in future roles.
     professional registrations?
                                                                                                                             What is the most exciting part of   SUEZ is involved in energy from waste, landfill management, water treatment
                                                                                                                             working in the biosector/in your    and waste processing and recycling. This allows me to learn something new
     What is your role and how do        My role as a Technical Plant Engineer is to offer technical support to our UK       company?                            by working with people from different disciplines and to be involved in a wide
     you apply the principles of         Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities. I am responsible for conducting operational                                         range of projects.
     chemical/biochemical processing     performance evaluation and plant optimisation.
     engineering?
                                         Current projects include a design review of the flue gas treatment systems.         What are some of the exciting       SUEZ is in the process of building an eco-park where waste will be
                                         This is being achieved using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling           recent developments in your         anaerobically digested to produce biogas and used as a fuel for combustion.
                                         and analysis of the reactions taking place within the reactors.                     sector/company?                     At the same facility there is a gasification process which will use waste as
                                                                                                                                                                 the feedstock. It’s exciting to have potentially found an alternative to simply
                                                                                                                                                                 burning the waste.
     Please briefly outline your         I was introduced to a Chartered Chemical Engineer, who was a plant manager
     journey from graduation to your     at SUEZ, and he sparked my interest in engineering.
     current role.                                                                                                           What are your top tips for          Keep up to date with changes and developments in the industry, using IChemE
     Was there anything in particular    During my degree, I completed two summer internships with SUEZ resulting            current students and anyone         special interest groups and publications. Get involved with your professional
     that helped? Eg did you have        in an offer for a place on its Graduate Scheme. During the internships I worked     considering a career as a           body – there are many opportunities to volunteer with IChemE throughout
     a mentor that inspired or           with a female senior engineer who was an excellent role model and I have            chemical/biochemical engineer       your career and I am currently the Vice-Chair and Secretary for the Teesside
     supported your journey?             already learned a great deal from her.                                              in the biosector?                   Members Group.

                                                                                                                                                                 Gain work experience and get networking! I was offered my first placement,
     When you started your degree        When I started my degree, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my career. I                                           and subsequently my position as a graduate with SUEZ by keeping in touch
     and when you graduated, what        studied engineering because of the wide range of career possibilities it offered.                                       with staff I had met on a previous site visit.
     were your career aspirations –      However, following my internships with SUEZ, I decided that the waste
     did you know what you wanted        industry was a suitable starting point.
     to do?

     For those who didn’t start out in   The combustion process is basically a chemical reaction for waste breakdown.
     biotechnology, what transferable    It’s important to understand the waste composition and what it deforms into.
     skills made the transition          Similarly, knowledge of thermodynamics is required to understand the overall
     possible?                           process of energy production.

     What is the best thing about        The waste industry is emergent in terms of technology and constantly going
     your job and working in the         through changes to find alternative and innovative uses for waste such as the
     bioeconomy?                         End of Life (EoL) plastics plant which is being designed to produce oil from
                                         waste plastic.

10                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 115
Chemical engineering careers in the bioeconomy 2020 - IChemE
Alexander
                                                                                                                             When you started your degree         I wanted to study chemical engineering as I believed it was a degree that would
                                                                                                                             and when you graduated, what         give me skills to make important decisions around improving the environment.
                                                                                                                             were your career aspirations –

     Smith
                                                                                                                             did you know what you wanted         I wanted a graduate job that would allow me to develop as an engineer and
                                                                                                                             to do?                               provide interesting real-world challenges to learn from.

     Production Engineer                                                                                                     For those who didn’t start out in    I developed a lot of transferable skills in data analysis and unit operation
                                                                                                                             biotechnology, what transferable     performance/efficiency analysis.
     United Utilities                                                                                                        skills made the transition
     North West England, UK                                                                                                  possible?                            I also developed skills on how to communicate complex technical information
                                                                                                                                                                  effectively to engage and influence important stakeholders, to drive
                                                                                                                                                                  operational and process changes.

                                                                                                                             What is the best thing about         The variety of activities involved in the role which can vary from technical
                                                                                                                             your job and working in the          design support for projects to operation and management of sites.
                                                                                                                             bioeconomy?
     Degree(s) – year, subject and      2015 – MEng Chemical Engineering, Newcastle University, UK                                                                The best thing about working in the biosector is that it is a fast-moving sector
     university                                                                                                                                                   and you can achieve a lot of change in a short space of time.

     Apart from your degree/            IChemE Associate Member (AMIChemE)                                                   What does it take to do your         The most important skill is to condense technical information into easily
     further degree, have you taken                                                                                          job (skills, strengths and           understandable communications that can be used to drive change at all
     any further qualifications or                                                                                           knowledge)?                          business levels.
     professional memberships and
     professional registrations?
                                                                                                                             What are the biggest challenges      The industry is similar to other chemical or industrial processes, as individual unit
                                                                                                                             in your job?                         operations, regardless of industry sector have issues and do not run perfectly.
     What is your role and how do       I am the onsite technical authority for optimal operation of the United Utilities                                         Therefore, I am often problem-solving using similar thought processes and
     you apply the principles of        Sludge to Energy (S2E) process and fertiliser production and I am also                                                    techniques.
     chemical/biochemical processing    responsible for providing technical support to four anaerobic digestion sites.
     engineering?                       I analyse the process performance and efficiency of every process step. To do                                             The biggest difference for me is scale of treatment processes. When I was in
                                        this, I assess the site mass and energy balances to correctly size unit operations                                        the nuclear industry, I was treating thousands of m3/decade. Since moving into
                                        for future investment and to manage biogas to ensure the anaerobic digesters                                              bioresources, I can treat thousands of m3/day of sludge.
                                        have adequate process heating for optimal gas yield and sludge treatment.

                                        I also apply many safety principles when managing complex sites. These include       What do you think is the same as     I feel like I can achieve a lot in a short space of time in my industry.
                                        having an appreciation for the Dangerous Substance and Explosive Atmospheres         other chemistry or process related
                                        Regulations (DSEAR), change management procedures, carrying out Layers of            industries and what do you think
                                        Protection Analysis (LOPA) and Root Cause Analysis (RCA) following incidents.        are the main differences?

     Please briefly outline your        Following graduation, I worked as a graduate Chemical Engineer at Sellafield,        What do you think sets the           The wide range of opportunities to develop as an engineer; opportunities to
     journey from graduation to your    decommissioning nuclear legacy facilities that have waste sludge in them. I also     biosector apart as a good place      support projects, commission plants, provide technical support to operations
     current role.                      completed a secondment to the operations department of a spent nuclear fuel          to work?                             and manage operations.
     Was there anything in particular   reprocessing plant. This allowed me to better understand how a chemical plant
     that helped? Eg did you have       runs day-to-day and how operations are managed safely and improved.
     a mentor that inspired or                                                                                               What is the most exciting part of    The UK anaerobic digestion and biogas market is being reformed which
     supported your journey?            Following my graduate scheme at Sellafield, I wanted to apply the knowledge          working in the biosector/in your     opens the possibility of trying new types of digestion such as co-digestion of
                                        I developed to the renewable energy sector as well as continue to develop my         company?                             different waste streams and opening up different sludge and biogas treatment
                                        knowledge in sludge treatment and processing. I also wanted a role where I                                                technologies.
                                        could apply and develop technical knowledge and be involved in day-to-day
                                        operations to have a more hands-on approach. This led to me applying for my
                                        current role at United Utilities.                                                    What are some of the exciting        It’s important for students and graduates to know what they enjoy about
                                                                                                                             recent developments in your          chemical engineering, what they want to achieve from their career and how an
                                                                                                                             sector/company?                      employer can help them achieve this.

                                                                                                                             What are your top tips for           Many aging unit operations are reaching their design lifetime but not much
                                                                                                                             current students and anyone          funding is available. A challenge is to determine how best to spend money
                                                                                                                             considering a career as a            and change operations to maintain high process efficiencies.
                                                                                                                             chemical/biochemical engineer
                                                                                                                             in the biosector?

12                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        135
Chemical engineering careers in the bioeconomy 2020 - IChemE
Lewis
     Eaton
     Wilton Energy from Waste (EfW)
     Plant Engineer
     SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK
     North East, UK
                                                                                                                          What is the best thing about        It provides environmental responsibility that is exciting and challenging. There
                                                                                                                          your job and working in the         are always new ideas and my experience with the ELP project was a great
                                                                                                                          bioeconomy?                         example, processing end-of-life plastics to produce a crude hydrocarbon fuel
                                                                                                                                                              that was refined into fuel oils. The energy-from-waste process that I currently
     Degree(s) – year, subject and      2014 – BEng Chemical Engineering, University of Teesside, UK                                                          work with is now an established process around the world.
     university

                                                                                                                          What does it take to do your        Coffee! As with many industry roles an understanding of the fundamentals of
     Apart from your degree/            IChemE Associate Member (AMIChemE)                                                job (skills, strengths and          engineering is important. There is chemistry involved on both the flue gas side
     further degree, have you taken                                                                                       knowledge)?                         and within the water/steam cycle. The knowledge I’ve gained around other
     any further qualifications or      After university, I considered studying a Master’s degree but decided that I                                          engineering disciplines also helps. The role requires an analytical mind and an
     professional memberships and       wanted to gain some industry experience and apply the knowledge I gained                                              eye for detail. Strong interpersonal skills are also very important.
     professional registrations?        from my degree. It’s something I’ll consider in the future.

                                                                                                                          What are the biggest challenges     I think the biggest challenges are fault finding and trying to improve the
     What is your role and how do       Plant Engineer – performance monitoring and optimisation. The main                in your job?                        process. Working with complex systems can make investigations and root
     you apply the principles of        principles of chemical engineering are applied as part of performance                                                 cause analysis (RCA) difficult, although very satisfying.
     chemical/biochemical processing    monitoring and troubleshooting include thermodynamics, heat transfer and
     engineering?                       mass and energy balances.
                                                                                                                          What do you think is the same       As above, but the main differences are surrounding the legislation. The
                                                                                                                          as other chemistry or process       EfW process has developed greatly and we are now operating true energy
     Please briefly outline your        I joined SUEZ as a Graduate Engineer on the End of Life Plastics (ELP) project.   related industries and what         recovery plants. However, the primary purpose of an EfW is still diverting
     journey from graduation to your    After one year, I transferred to the Wilton Energy from Waste (EfW) project.      do you think are the main           waste from landfill as a valuable resource. This brings social and environmental
     current role.                      I was promoted to site Process Engineer after one year and I am currently the     differences?                        responsibility which is maybe not as great in other related industries. Part of
     Was there anything in particular   Plant Engineer. I’ve received huge support and opportunities during my years                                          this responsibility is maintaining healthy relationships with local authorities/
     that helped? Eg did you have       with SUEZ and this has allowed me to gain some fantastic experience.                                                  communities and helping educate where we can.
     a mentor that inspired or
     supported your journey?
                                                                                                                          What do you think sets the          The sector is continuously demanding improvements, which is a great driver
                                                                                                                          biosector apart as a good place     for you as an engineer.
     When you started your degree       During my degree I became more interested in the energy side of things and        to work?
     and when you graduated, what       wanted to move into a role that would give me this exposure.
     were your career aspirations –
     did you know what you wanted                                                                                         What is the most exciting part of   The responsibility of the biosector to improve processes and develop new
     to do?                                                                                                               working in the biosector/in your    ideas is increasing. This healthy pressure helps promote a natural growth
                                                                                                                          company?                            within the industry and working within SUEZ I feel very much a part of this.

                                                                                                                          What are some of the exciting       The ELP process that I worked with was very exciting. Having the opportunity
                                                                                                                          recent developments in your         to work with and help develop this process was unique. Another exciting
                                                                                                                          sector/company?                     development within SUEZ is the use of gasification to treat waste.

                                                                                                                          What are your top tips for          I think the best advice is to get some exposure to the industry through
                                                                                                                          current students and anyone         networking and keep up with recent developments and publications in the
                                                                                                                          considering a career as a           industry. IChemE is a useful learning resource too with the special interest
                                                                                                                          chemical/biochemical engineer       groups.
                                                                                                                          in the biosector?

14                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               155
Chemical engineering careers in the bioeconomy 2020 - IChemE
Charles
     Madondo
     Biomass Process Commissioning
     Engineer
     Bouygues
     Northern Ireland, UK

     Degree(s) – year, subject and      2014 – MEng Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, University of Leeds, UK
     university

                                                                                                                          For those who didn’t start out in   I think the IT course in the university syllabus was important, in the sense
     Apart from your degree/            IChemE Associate Member (AMIChemE)
                                                                                                                          biotechnology, what transferable    that most companies immediately give you a laptop and a phone to use when
     further degree, have you taken
                                                                                                                          skills made the transition          joining them.
     any further qualifications or      I studied Java Programming after my degree.
                                                                                                                          possible?
     professional memberships and
     professional registrations?
                                                                                                                          What is the best thing about        The ability to explain in simpler terms the complex nature and behaviour of a
                                                                                                                          your job and working in the         process and use tools and maths to justify the reason for a certain behaviour
     What is your role and how do       My role is Commissioning Engineer. Plants are built to perform to a design
                                                                                                                          bioeconomy?                         being abnormal or normal.
     you apply the principles of        specification, and at commissioning stage I witness testing by the vendor and
     chemical/biochemical processing    sign off on behalf of the organisation that all functionality complies as per
     engineering?                       design.
                                                                                                                          What does it take to do your        You need to be able to visualise and relate concepts in mathematical form. You
                                                                                                                          job (skills, strengths and          are faced with data and phenomena in a complex and sometimes uniformed
                                                                                                                          knowledge)?                         manner. This amount of data can be repetitive and seemingly normal.
     Please briefly outline your        After graduation, I moved straight into the energy-from-waste industry as
                                                                                                                                                              Therefore, the ability to correlate and see the differential is important. This can
     journey from graduation to your    a Technical Plant Engineer. I reported to the Plant Manager and Technical
                                                                                                                                                              be achieved when the engineer collects relevant data and transforms this into a
     current role.                      Manager. I handled reports that answered to projects they allocated me.
                                                                                                                                                              picture with the use of graphs and equations.
     Was there anything in particular   Both the technical manager and plant manager supported me and valued my
     that helped? Eg did you have       work. I was included as a point of reference in projects that required chemical
     a mentor that inspired or          engineering skills at other sites in the UK.
                                                                                                                          What are the biggest challenges     The biggest challenge is selling your ideas to senior managers who have great
     supported your journey?
                                                                                                                          in your job?                        experience but less engineering knowledge.

     When you started your degree       I wanted to work at a power station. That was fulfilled when I joined Suez.
                                                                                                                          What do you think sets the          The biosector is thriving and new. The biosector work culture is not
     and when you graduated, what
                                                                                                                          biosector apart as a good place     predetermined; it is currently forming. There is opportunity for starters to
     were your career aspirations –
                                                                                                                          to work?                            be able to influence this culture to their advantage as compared to readily
     did you know what you wanted
                                                                                                                                                              established cultures eg oil and gas.
     to do?

                                                                                                                          What is the most exciting part of   The knowledge that material previously regarded as waste and disposed of in
                                                                                                                          working in the biosector/in your    landfill or elsewhere is now being recycled and making the environment better
                                                                                                                          company?                            and being turned into useful energy.

                                                                                                                          What are some of the exciting       Almost every borough in the UK will be investing in the biosector.
                                                                                                                          recent developments in your
                                                                                                                          sector/company?

                                                                                                                          What are your top tips for          Computer skills are essential in this sector. Students could ask their university
                                                                                                                          current students and anyone         to come up with different assignments to resolve issues like NOx emissions,
                                                                                                                          considering a career as a           heat energy transfer, material handling and analysis. These projects can make
                                                                                                                          chemical/biochemical engineer       a student stand out at the application stage as it demonstrates knowledge and
                                                                                                                          in the biosector?                   interest.

16                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  175
Chemical engineering careers in the bioeconomy 2020 - IChemE
Peter
                                                                                                                                                                In 1990 I started PWS Technology (PWST) in British Columbia, Canada. In
                                                                                                                                                                1990, PWST built a pilot plant with Agriculture Canada to demonstrate low/
                                                                                                                                                                no alcohol wines, beers, cider, spirits, with a key aroma recovery stage. The

     Smith
                                                                                                                                                                process was further developed to produce refined natural products from
                                                                                                                                                                essential oils, the first being Terpinen-4-ol from Australian tea tree oil.

                                                                                                                                                                I was head-hunted to Suncor as Technical Director. I worked on the
     President/CEO                                                                                                                                              development of a new process to clean oil-sand bitumen, consortium with
                                                                                                                                                                Syncrude, Suncor, and Esso.
     PWS Technology
     Western Canada and UK
                                                                                                                            When you started your degree        I first worked with large companies and moved around to get good training in
                                                                                                                            and when you graduated, what        multi-discipline engineering contracting. This helped me to identify process
                                                                                                                            were your career aspirations –      design, project management and sales as my way forward.
                                                                                                                            did you know what you wanted
                                                                                                                            to do?

     Degree(s) – year, subject and      1961 – HND Applied Chemistry, Medway College of Technology, Royal
     university                         Institute of Chemistry, UK                                                          For those who didn’t start out in   My knowledge of distillation has helped, together with marketing, sales
                                                                                                                            biotechnology, what transferable    experience and project management.
                                        1962 – Diploma in Chemical Engineering, West Ham College of Technology,             skills made the transition
                                        UK                                                                                  possible?

     Apart from your degree/            IChemE Fellow (FIChemE)                                                             What is the best thing about        My work is all new.
     further degree, have you taken                                                                                         your job and working in the
     any further qualifications or      Chartered Chemical Engineer (CEng)                                                  bioeconomy?
     professional memberships and
     professional registrations?        PEng (Canada)
                                                                                                                            What does it take to do your        Wide experience and taking risks.
                                                                                                                            job (skills, strengths and
     What is your role and how do       I lead a company that is involved in the development of new technology for          knowledge)?
     you apply the principles of        the cleaning and extraction of value-added products from biomass. We use
     chemical/biochemical processing    counter-current extraction, distillation and reverse osmosis.
     engineering?                                                                                                           What are the biggest challenges     Projects are new and take a long time to develop and that means cash flow is
                                                                                                                            in your job?                        difficult.

     Please briefly outline your        I worked for BP Kent Oil Refinery as a ‘sandwich’ student and later as a
     journey from graduation to your    qualified chemist where I specialised in distillation. In 1962 I moved to Sarnia,   What do you think is the same       The basic chemical engineering technology is similar; the main difference is
     current role.                      Ontario with Dow Chemical as a process engineer, designing chlorine and             as other chemistry or process-      unusual operation conditions.
     Was there anything in particular   ethylene plants.                                                                    related industries and what
     that helped? Eg did you have                                                                                           do you think are the main
     a mentor that inspired or          I moved to Alberta in 1966 to work with Bechtel on the development and              differences?
     supported your journey?            design of the extraction plant for the Athabasca Oil Sands (now Suncor plant)
                                        and project engineering on oil and gas production plants for Imperial Oil
                                        (Esso).                                                                             What do you think sets the          New opportunities, often with new companies.
                                                                                                                            biosector apart as a good place
                                        I returned to the UK in 1968 and worked for Woodall Duckham on business             to work?
                                        development in Pakistan and the UK. In 1970 Bechtel London approached
                                        me and I returned to work on a Belgian oil refinery and troubleshooting on a
                                        copper concentrator project in Mauritania, West Africa.                             What is the most exciting part of   When we start up a new process and it works!
                                                                                                                            working in the biosector/in your
                                        In 1972 I was head-hunted to join Kvaerner Engineering in Oslo to help              company?
                                        develop the company into offshore, mainly North Sea engineering work
                                        including Cod, Tor, Frigg and Statoil projects, and the Abu Qir gas project in
                                        Egypt.                                                                              What are some of the exciting       Renewable fuels from forest waste.
                                                                                                                            recent developments in your
                                        I then worked for many years mainly with Scandinavian engineering and oil           sector/company?
                                        clients on business development and planning of major projects. Work in
                                        Sweden included consulting on floating fertiliser projects for the Swedish
                                        Shipbuilding Corp. yards, and LM Ericsson on a diversification into pipeline        What are your top tips for          Get wide experience.
                                        control for the gas company in Qatar.                                               current students and anyone
                                                                                                                            considering a career as a
                                                                                                                            chemical/biochemical engineer
                                                                                                                            in the biosector?
18                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              195
Yvonne
     Owens
     Whey Intake Production Manager
     Glanbia Ireland
     Leinster, Ireland

     Degree(s) – year, subject and       2009 – MEng Chemical Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
     university                                                                                                           What does it take to do your        Tasks include; managing throughputs and maximising yields, scheduling
                                                                                                                          job (skills, strengths and          activities, developing and coaching operators, identifying and supporting
                                                                                                                          knowledge)?                         health and safety initiatives, responding to safety incidents, ensuring product
     Apart from your degree/             IChemE Associate Member (AMIChemE)                                                                                   quality and optimising product constituents, investigating quality non-
     further degree, have you taken                                                                                                                           conformances, managing variable costs – embedding continuous improvement
     any further qualifications or           n   Dairy Science and Technology Diploma                                                                         principles/lean six sigma and ensuring environmental compliance
     professional memberships and            n   Accounting and Project Management Diploma
     professional registrations?             n   NEBOSH Certificate                                                                                           Strengths: leadership, good communication – for peers, service providers,
                                             n   City & Guilds Operation of Evaporative Cooling Towers                                                        suppliers and line reports, report writing skills, troubleshooting, investigation
                                             n   Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt                                                                                   and technical ability.
                                             n   Text Processing Diploma.

                                                                                                                          What are the biggest challenges     The biggest challenges come from trying to balance workload, issues from
     What is your role and how do        Production Engineer in food manufacturing – using principles of heat transfer,   in your job?                        aging infrastructure and changing markets. We are now selling our product
     you apply the principles of         chemistry, personnel management and health & safety to optimise and make                                             into ‘value-add’ markets – this changes the specifications/requirements of the
     chemical/biochemical processing     process improvements.                                                                                                product, which cannot be easily/consistently met.
     engineering?

                                                                                                                          What do you think is the same           n   technical aspects eg pumps/valves
     Please briefly outline your         After graduation, I started the Shift Operations Manager Graduate programme      as other chemistry or process           n   cleaning – the hygiene of lines/tanks etc is critical to our products
     journey from graduation to your     with British Sugar. This included a NEBOSH diploma in Health & Safety, and       related industries and what             n   people skills
     current role.                       after three years, I progressed to the Shift Operations Manager role.            do you think are the main               n   safety skills
     Was there anything in particular                                                                                     differences?                            n   troubleshooting/six sigma tools
     that helped? Eg did you have        After British Sugar I took up the role as Casein Production Manager in Glanbia
     a mentor that inspired or           Ireland and recently moved to whey production. Glanbia sponsored a Diploma
     supported your journey?             in Food Science and Technology and an Accountancy Certificate.                   What do you think sets the          I enjoy the flexibility offered by the dairy industry as it allows me to make
                                                                                                                          biosector apart as a good place     process changes and optimise the process rapidly. We manage change, but
                                                                                                                          to work?                            our response time must be immediate because of the live nature of the milk we
     When you started your degree        I knew I wanted to work in industry, rather than in academic research. I enjoy                                       use as a feed material.
     and when you graduated, what        seeing how things work and fixing problems. The food industry gives me this
     were your career aspirations –      through engineering and process technical challenges.
     did you know what you wanted                                                                                         What is the most exciting part of   The dairy industry is significantly expanding. This means there are always
     to do?                                                                                                               working in the biosector/in your    opportunities for development.
                                                                                                                          company?

     For those who didn’t start out in   My structured training gave me responsibility for safety, throughput, quality
     biotechnology, what transferable    and personnel which made me very employable. I also undertook an online          What are some of the exciting       New markets for dairy products, new product developments and the
     skills made the transition          course in lean six sigma as I knew this would be attractive to any future        recent developments in your         investments required for both areas.
     possible?                           employers.                                                                       sector/company?

     What is the best thing about        I enjoy the diversity of working in food processing. The dairy industry is       What are your top tips for          Gain as much work experience as possible.
     your job and working in the         expanding and Glanbia is investing heavily. This means there are always          current students and anyone
     bioeconomy?                         opportunities for development.                                                   considering a career as a           Keep your skills base broad – my role requires a range of skills rather than one
                                                                                                                          chemical/biochemical engineer       speciality.
                                                                                                                          in the biosector?

20                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                215
Joe
     Rogers
     Process Engineer
     Mace/Porton Biopharma
     South West, UK

     Degree(s) – year, subject and      2016 – MEng Chemical Engineering, University of Bath, UK
     university

     Apart from your degree/            IChemE Associate Member (AMIChemE)
     further degree, have you taken                                                                                           What is the best thing about        The industry is very innovative, and I like that the products we make have a
     any further qualifications or      I completed the Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) Managing            your job and working in the         significant impact on people’s lives.
     professional memberships and       Safely course as part of my permit-to-work issuer training. I have also               bioeconomy?
     professional registrations?        completed the Project Management Qualification from the Association for
                                        Project Management.
                                                                                                                              What does it take to do your        I’m required to think on my feet and apply my engineering knowledge to come
                                                                                                                              job (skills, strengths and          up with a solution to the problem which often needs to be rectified quickly. A
     What is your role and how do       As a Process Engineer, I am responsible for supporting several capital projects       knowledge)?                         level head, tenacity and logical thinking are a must.
     you apply the principles of        as well as carrying out troubleshooting activities and process improvements.
     chemical/biochemical processing    I led a project to install a plant steam system in an existing facility where I had
     engineering?                       to consult steam tables, estimate steam consumption, calculate pipe sizes and         What are the biggest challenges     Aging equipment and regulatory barriers.
                                        select materials of construction.                                                     in your job?

     Please briefly outline your        After graduating, I joined GSK where I supported a major project for the              What do you think is the same       Due to the highly regulated nature of the pharmaceutical industry, there is a
     journey from graduation to your    revamp of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing facilities. I          as other chemistry or process       lot more ‘red tape’ compared to other industries. However, the principles of
     current role.                      also managed an API production facility, ensuring that all safety, quality and        related industries and what         applying good engineering practice are relevant across all industries.
     Was there anything in particular   production targets were met.                                                          do you think are the main
     that helped? Eg did you have                                                                                             differences?
     a mentor that inspired or          I then joined Mace as a Project Manager, where I supported and led a number
     supported your journey?            of projects ranging from £10k–£15m.
                                                                                                                              What do you think sets the          There are a lot of innovative products which have a significant impact on a lot
                                                                                                                              biosector apart as a good place     of people and save lives.
     When you started your degree       I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I just knew that I wanted to get some              to work?
     and when you graduated, what       experience and start paying off my student loan.
     were your career aspirations –
     did you know what you wanted                                                                                             What is the most exciting part of   I am given a lot of responsibility which I find really rewarding, but also develops
     to do?                                                                                                                   working in the biosector/in your    my skills and knowledge at an accelerated rate.
                                                                                                                              company?

                                                                                                                              What are some of the exciting       The recent commercialisation of Chimeric Antigen Receptors Cell Therapy
                                                                                                                              recent developments in your         (CAR-T) is a very exciting innovation in the industry as it has the potential to
                                                                                                                              sector/company?                     revolutionise the way that a very damaging disease is treated.

                                                                                                                              What are your top tips for          Read up on good manufacturing practice (GMP) and understand how it applies
                                                                                                                              current students and anyone         to different dosage forms eg tablets or injections.
                                                                                                                              considering a career as a
                                                                                                                              chemical/biochemical engineer
                                                                                                                              in the biosector?

22                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      235
Naomi
     Atkinson
     Process Engineer
     Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
     North East, UK

     Degree(s) – year, subject and      2013 – MEng Chemical Engineering, Loughborough University, UK
     university

     Apart from your degree/            IChemE Associate Member (AMIChemE)
     further degree, have you taken                                                                                      What is the best thing about        The products we make really do help people and make a difference to people’s
     any further qualifications or                                                                                       your job and working in the         quality of life.
     professional memberships and                                                                                        bioeconomy?
     professional registrations?

                                                                                                                         What does it take to do your        Problem solving, communication, teamwork, safety consciousness and the
     What is your role and how do       Currently, my role is two-fold. I complete the technical transfer of the         job (skills, strengths and          ability to train people.
     you apply the principles of        processes between process development and manufacturing. This involves           knowledge)?
     chemical/biochemical processing    hazard and good manufacturing practice (GMP) reviews and ensuring the
     engineering?                       equipment is suitable and qualified for the process requirement. I am also
                                        involved in choosing and qualifying new equipment.                               What are the biggest challenges     Differing priorities throughout the site as we run so many streams in parallel.
                                                                                                                         in your job?                        Always trying to find ways to make processes leaner and smarter.

     Please briefly outline your        I completed a sandwich year during university which led to a job offer after
     journey from graduation to your    graduation. My line manager during this sandwich year encouraged me to           What do you think is the same       A lot of the skills are transferable. Scale of work and speed of work at Fujifilm is
     current role.                      grab every opportunity given. I carried this on to my permanent job role which   as other chemistry or process       more rapid as we are a CDMO.
     Was there anything in particular   has allowed me to progress from a graduate engineer to a process engineer        related industries and what
     that helped? Eg did you have       and then quickly onto becoming a Quality Auditor which involves completing       do you think are the main
     a mentor that inspired or          internal and supplier audits.                                                    differences?
     supported your journey?

                                                                                                                         What do you think sets the          The technology is still developing, which makes it a very exciting sector.
     When you started your degree       I knew I wanted to work in pharma but not specifically what I wanted to do.      biosector apart as a good place
     and when you graduated, what       I also knew that I wanted to become chartered. Once I graduated, I knew          to work?
     were your career aspirations –     that biopharma was the place for me and that I enjoyed the changeability of
     did you know what you wanted       working for a contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO).
     to do?                                                                                                              What is the most exciting part of   Bringing in the new technology and watching/being involved in the
                                                                                                                         working in the biosector/in your    innovations and improvements.
                                                                                                                         company?

                                                                                                                         What are some of the exciting       Automation (although I think it has a way to go yet).
                                                                                                                         recent developments in your
                                                                                                                         sector/company?

                                                                                                                         What are your top tips for          Get as much experience as you can.
                                                                                                                         current students and anyone
                                                                                                                         considering a career as a
                                                                                                                         chemical/biochemical engineer
                                                                                                                         in the biosector?

24                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  255
Sophie                                                                                                              When you started your degree
                                                                                                                         and when you graduated, what
                                                                                                                                                             Definitely not. I sort of fell into research and the biomedical sector, and I’m
                                                                                                                                                             very glad I did!

     Cox
                                                                                                                         were your career aspirations –
                                                                                                                         did you know what you wanted
                                                                                                                         to do?

     Lecturer in Healthcare Technologies
                                                                                                                         For those who didn’t start out in   An ability to break down complex problems and having a curious mind has
     University of Birmingham                                                                                            biotechnology, what transferable    helped me transition smoothly.
     West Midlands, UK                                                                                                   skills made the transition
                                                                                                                         possible?

                                                                                                                         What is the best thing about        I love learning new things, and biotechnology is an inherently multidisciplinary
                                                                                                                         your job and working in the         field that brings together engineers, scientists and healthcare professionals to
                                                                                                                         bioeconomy?                         solve some of the biggest challenges facing society.
     Degree(s) – year, subject and      2010 – B
                                                Eng Civil Engineering, University of Warwick, UK
     university
                                        2013 – PhD Biomedical Engineering, University of Warwick, UK                     What does it take to do your        Hard work, creativity, determination, teamwork and leadership. Having a
                                                                                                                         job (skills, strengths and          curiosity and passion for learning also really helps.
                                        2017 – P
                                                GCert Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, University of          knowledge)?
                                               Birmingham, UK

                                                                                                                         What are the biggest challenges     Staying motivated. Research is something that never works first time and
     Apart from your degree/            I undertook a Postgraduate Certification in Teaching and Learning in Higher      in your job?                        getting funding for new ideas/projects is very competitive. I try to focus on
     further degree, have you taken     Education.                                                                                                           what I learn from every experience.
     any further qualifications or
     professional memberships and
     professional registrations?                                                                                         What do you think is the same       As with other scientific disciplines, working in biotechnology requires good
                                                                                                                         as other chemistry or process       understanding of core principles and an ability to adapt them to individual
                                                                                                                         related industries and what         problems. I think in biotechnology, the societal impact of innovation is
     What is your role and how do       I am a Lecturer in the School of Chemical Engineering. My research is focussed   do you think are the main           particularly distinctive.
     you apply the principles of        on improving the functionality of medical devices. Our team develops new         differences?
     chemical/biochemical processing    methods of processing biomaterials and ways to manufacture them into
     engineering?                       structures that may support tissue regeneration.
                                                                                                                         What do you think sets the          It has direct impact on people by helping them live longer and happier lives
                                                                                                                         biosector apart as a good place     while also improving the efficiency of our NHS and economy. The bio sector is
     Please briefly outline your        When applying to university I was unsure which engineering discipline I          to work?                            also fast paced with lots of exciting innovation areas.
     journey from graduation to your    wanted to pursue. After taking optional modules in biomedical engineering
     current role.                      and biomaterials, I secured a PhD in this area through an independent
     Was there anything in particular   scholarship. I love that research requires me to think creatively and engage     What is the most exciting part of   Being the first person to try something in a field that could directly impact
     that helped? Eg did you have       regularly with other professionals. It also demands a lot of determination and   working in the biosector/in your    people around me is very exciting. Working in higher education also provides
     a mentor that inspired or          I have found immense support from colleagues and mentors throughout my           company?                            me with the opportunity to share this passion with the next generation of
     supported your journey?            career.                                                                                                              engineers.

                                                                                                                         What are some of the exciting       Biosensors are an exciting area that will provide researchers focussed on
                                                                                                                         recent developments in your         materials and manufacturing aspects of biotechnology, like myself, with a
                                                                                                                         sector/company?                     better understanding of real-time patient needs.

                                                                                                                         What are your top tips for          It’s not just what you know but also who you know. Don’t be afraid to ask
                                                                                                                         current students and anyone         questions and make new connections with different stakeholders in the
                                                                                                                         considering a career as a           biochemical engineering sector.
                                                                                                                         chemical/biochemical engineer
                                                                                                                         in the biosector?

26                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              275
Rhys
     Macown
     Lead Scientist
     Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult
     London, UK

     Degree(s) – year, subject and       2010 – BE Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Canterbury, New
     university                          Zealand

                                         2015 – PhD Biochemical Engineering, University College London, UK

     Apart from your degree/             IChemE Associate Member (AMIChemE)
     further degree, have you taken
     any further qualifications or                                                                                          What is the best thing about      The rate of development of new life-changing and lifesaving therapies. We
     professional memberships and                                                                                           your job and working in the       work at the cutting edge of medicine, performing novel science that will have a
     professional registrations?                                                                                            bioeconomy?                       real impact on the lives of patients and their families.

     What is your role and how do        As a lead scientist in the industrialisation team at Cell and Gene Therapy         What does it take to do your      Working in the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult industrialisation team requires
     you apply the principles of         Catapult, I help develop processes to manufacture the next generation of           job (skills, strengths and        some knowledge of both process development and the biology behind the
     chemical/biochemical processing     human cell and gene-based therapies. Biochemical and process engineering           knowledge)?                       therapies’ production processes and mechanisms of action.
     engineering?                        approaches are applied throughout the development process including
                                         identifying and mitigating risks, developing bioreactor control strategies, and
                                         integrating multiple unit operations into a complete manufacturing process.        What are the biggest challenges   The novelty of the science demands the enthusiasm and resolve to move past
                                                                                                                            in your job?                      experiments that don’t turn out as hoped and the adaptability to adjust plans in
                                                                                                                                                              a rapidly changing field.
     Please briefly outline your         Upon completing my undergraduate studies, I was a research assistant for nine
     journey from graduation to your     months, purifying a biopolymer from bacterial lysate, before joining UCL at
     current role.                       the start of the UK academic year. At UCL, I worked on the development and         What do you think is the same     The additional understanding of the biology is the major difference from other
     Was there anything in particular    testing of a microfluidic system for embryonic stem cell culture, introducing me   as other chemistry or process     chemical and process-related sectors. Due to the high rate of development, it
     that helped? Eg did you have        to the world of cell and gene therapies. I now develop cell and gene therapy       related industries and what       is essential to be able to rapidly develop understanding of both new processing
     a mentor that inspired or           processes at the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, first as a scientist, then a      do you think are the main         equipment and new biological approaches.
     supported your journey?             senior scientist, and now as a lead scientist.                                     differences?

     When you started your degree        No, my career aspirations have developed and changed throughout my                 What do you think sets the        I see the biosector as the most dynamic and rapidly growing sector due to
     and when you graduated, what        education.                                                                         biosector apart as a good place   the combined drivers of an increasing understanding of, and control over,
     were your career aspirations –                                                                                         to work?                          biological systems; the strain of a growing and developing global population;
     did you know what you wanted                                                                                                                             and the need to find more sustainable approaches to processes.
     to do?

                                                                                                                            What are some of the exciting     There are regularly exciting results from clinical trials of cell and gene therapies
     For those who didn’t start out in   Skills such as process control approaches and mass transfer principles             recent developments in your       and some of these are starting to get coverage by major news outlets like the
     biotechnology, what transferable    are equally applicable to bioprocessing and so are the more fundamental            sector/company?                   BBC. It is particularly exciting seeing evidence of major improvements where
     skills made the transition          engineering skills of design, modelling, risk assessment and reporting. The                                          no treatments were previously available.
     possible?                           commercial understanding engineers bring to scientific development, with a
                                         strong focus on the end goal of development – an economically viable process
                                         for a marketable product – is very valuable.                                       What are your top tips for        Look to take courses not just in the theory of biology but courses with practical
                                                                                                                            current students and anyone       basics like aseptic cell culture and molecular biology.
                                                                                                                            considering a career as a
                                                                                                                            chemical/biochemical engineer
                                                                                                                            in the biosector?

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