Chemical Engineering Research Strategy



Ever-changing environmental, economic and social drivers create the Global Grand Challenges that need to be addressed in the 21st century. The context of dwindling natural resources, the water-energy-land nexus, climate change, and evolving global socio-economic factors requires new approaches in energy production, consumption and storage, and product manufacturing. At the heart of chemical engineering are chemical transformations by which raw materials are converted to products, such as fuels, commodity and specialty chemicals, pharmaceuticals, construction materials and consumer products. Our current awareness of the world’s finite resources demands that these products are obtained in a sustainable, efficient and environmentally acceptable fashion. This is only possible through a new generation of ultra-efficient manufacturing technologies, flexible chemical plants, integrated process and product design approaches, and working across disciplinary boundaries. Within this exciting and demanding context, the Department of Chemical Engineering develops innovative and impactful technological solutions that leverage advances in basic science. We address Global Grand Challenges in the domains of:



UCL Chemical Engineering aims to be a leading Chemical Engineering Department in the UK, and one that is routinely recognized as among the top 5-10 Departments in Europe. We strive for excellence across the board, via seamless integration of research, teaching and knowledge transfer. We aspire to be the first choice for the most talented applicants, sought after as a preferred partner for research and industrial collaborations. We want to grow our 4* stature and be seen as a global leader, because of our creative, scientific scholarship and engineering effectiveness.



  • Positively impacting the profession via timely publications in highly visible journals and monographs, IP disclosures, training of post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers, and integration of research in education at under- and post-graduate level.
  • Securing funding from national and international sources, as well as new avenues that lead to a steady stream of diversified research funds to sustain our operations at high level.
  • Building stronger, interdisciplinary, outward-looking research groups in selected areas capable of bidding successfully in themes of high strategic importance, notably those of significance in energy, manufacturing, environment, health, and sustainability.
  • Recruitment of excellent researchers, including Lecturers, Professors and Research Fellows, as well as technical staff who answer the Department’s strategic needs.
  • Building new (UCL/UK/international) academic and industrial strategic partnerships that allow us to address new challenges more effectively and open up opportunities for funding for research and education, knowledge transfer and impact activities.
  • Engaging with strategic research activities and initiatives where we have key strengths: electrochemical engineering, integrated catalysis and reaction engineering, and functional materials.
  • Implementing a comprehensive approach from molecular-level observations to system-wide analysis and optimization.
  • Pioneering visionary new approaches, such as nature-inspired chemical engineering.
  • Ensuring transfer of knowledge to stakeholders via industrial collaboration, spin-outs, and public engagement activities.
  • Utilising our Industrial Advisory Board to invigorate the departmental activities via a stronger synergism between research, education and outreach to all stakeholders.


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