Institution of Chemical Engineers

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Institution of Chemical Engineers
Formation1922; 101 years ago (1922)
Legal statusRegistered charity
PurposeChemical engineering, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology worldwide
HeadquartersRailway Terrace, Rugby, UK[1]
  • Offices in Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK.
Region served
David Bogle[3]
Main organ
IChemE Council
AffiliationsEuropean Federation of Chemical Engineering (EFCE) and Asia Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering (APCChE)
£7.07 million[2]

The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) is a global professional engineering institution with over 33,000 members worldwide.[2] It was founded in 1922 and awarded a Royal Charter in 1957.

It has offices in Rugby, London, Melbourne, Wellington, New Zealand, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore.[2]


In 1881, George E. Davis proposed the formation of a Society of Chemical Engineers, but instead the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) was formed.[4][5]

The First World War required a huge increase in chemical production to meet the needs of the munitions and its supply industries, including a twenty-fold increase in explosives.[6] This brought a number of chemical engineers into high positions within the Ministry of Munitions, notably K. B. Quinan,[7][8] Frederic Nathan[7] and Arthur Duckham.[9]

The increased public perception of chemical engineers renewed the interest in a society, and in 1918 John Hinchley, who was a Council Member of the SCI, petitioned it to form a Chemical Engineers Group (CEG), which was done, with him as chairman and 510 members.[8] In 1920 this group voted to form a separate Institution of Chemical Engineers,which was achieved in 1922 with Hinchley as the Secretary, a role he held until his death.[10] The inaugural meeting was held on 2 May 1922, at the Hotel Cecil, London.[11]

Despite opposition from the Institute of Chemistry and the Institution of Civil Engineers,[12][13] it was formally incorporated with the Board of Trade on 21 December 1922 as a company not for profit and limited by guarantee.[14] The first Corporate meeting was held 14 March 1923 and the first Annual General Meeting on 8 June 1923: Arthur Duckham was confirmed as President, Hinchley as Secretary and Quinan as Vice-President.[13][14] At this time it had about 200 members.[14] Nathan was the second President in 1925.[15]

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers, which had been founded in 1908, served as a useful model. While suggestions of amalgamation were made and there was friendly but limited contact, the two organisations developed independently.[16]

In 1926 an official Seal of the Institution was produced by Edith Mary Hinchley, wife of John Hinchley.[17][18]

The same year the Institution set the first examinations for Associate (i.e. professionally qualified) membership, bringing it into line with the Civil and Mechanical Institutions.[19] In addition to four set examinations of three hours each, there was a 'Home Paper' requiring the candidate to gather information and data and design a chemical plant, accompanied by drawings and a written design proposal within a time limit of a month.[20]

In 1938 the membership passed 1000.[21]

In 1939 the first courses were recognised as granting exemption from the examinations for Associate Membership, being Manchester College of Technology and of the South Wales and Monmouthshire School of Mines.[21] Others followed in subsequent years.

In 1942 Mrs Hilda Derrick (née Stroud) was the first female member, in the category Student, taking a correspondence course in chemical engineering during the war. She was active in promoting the Institution and profession to women.[22]

In 1955 Canterbury University College, New Zealand, and University of Cape Town, South Africa, were the first overseas institutions to have their qualifications recognised.[23]

On 8 April 1957 the IChemE was granted a Royal Charter, changing it from a limited company to a body incorporated by Royal Charter, a professional institution like the Civil and Mechanical ones,[24][25] with HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as patron,[26] a role he continued for over 63 years.[27]

In 1971, the membership grades were changed: Associate became Member and Member became Fellow.[28]

In 1976 the Institution moved its Headquarters from London to Rugby.[28]

Relations with Other Bodies[edit]

The IChemE's head office in Rugby.

The IChemE is licensed by the Engineering Council UK to assess candidates for inclusion on ECUK's Register of professional Engineers, giving the status of Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer and Engineering Technician. It is licensed by the Science Council to grant the status of Chartered Scientist and Registered Science Technician. It is licensed by the Society for the Environment to grant the status of Chartered Environmentalist. It is a member of the European Federation of Chemical Engineering.[29] It accredits chemical engineering degree courses in 25 countries worldwide.


"Promoting and advancing the science of chemical engineering in all its branches, promoting competence and a commitment to sustainable development, advancing the discipline for the benefit of society and supporting the professional development of members."[30]

Membership grades and post-nominals[edit]

IChemE has two main types of membership, qualified and non-qualified, with the technician member grade being available in both categories.[31]

Qualified membership grades.

FellowA chemical engineering professional in a very senior position in industry and/or academia. Entitling the holder to the post-nominal FIChemE and is a chartered grade encompassing all the privileges of Chartered Member grade.

Chartered MemberInternationally recognised level of professional and academic competence requiring at least 4 years of field experience and a bachelors degree with honours. Entitles the holder to the post-nominal MIChemE and registration as one or a combination of; Chartered Engineer (CEng), Chartered Scientist (CSci) and Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv). This also entitles the individual to register as a European Engineer with the pre-nominal Eur Ing.

Associate MemberThis grade is for young professionals who are qualified in chemical & process engineering to bachelors with honours level or a higher. Typically this is the grade held by those working towards Chartered Member level or those graduates working other fields. This grade entitles the holder to the post-nominal AMIChemE. This grade can also lead to the grade of Incorporated Engineer (IEng) for those with some field experience but which falls short of the level required for Chartered Member grade.

Technician MemberUses practical understanding to solve engineering problems and could have a qualification, an apprenticeship or years of experience. This grade can lead to the Eng Tech TIChemE post-nominal and now in conjunction with the Nuclear Institute the post-nominal Eng Tech TIChemE TNucI.

Non-qualified membership grades.

Associate FellowSenior professionals trained in other fields of a level comparable to Fellow in other professional bodies.

AffiliateFor people working in, with or with a general interest in the sector.

StudentFor undergraduate chemical & process engineering students.



The Frank Morton Medal of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. Awarded biennially for outstanding service to chemical engineering education.

The Institution has been awarding Medals for different areas of Chemical engineering work since the first Moulton medals were issued in 1929. The medal was named after Lord Moulton who helped develop chemical engineering during World War I when he took charge of explosive supplies.[32] Today the institution gives out eleven medals related to research and teaching,[33] six medals in special interest groups,[34] four medals relating to publications,[35] two medals for services to the profession[36] and two medals for contribution to the Institution.[37]

Annual awards[edit]

The IChemE Innovation and Excellence Awards take place in November in the UK. The awards are highly regarded throughout the process industries for recognising and rewarding chemical engineering excellence and innovation. The first awards took place at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on 23 March 1994.[38]

There are 14 categories in total that applicants are invited to enter including; food and drink, energy, health and safety, bioprocessing, innovative product, nuclear innovation and young chemical engineer of the year, offering a broad scope for entries.[38]

The organisation is working on newer award programs in other countries and in 2012 events also took place in Singapore and North America.[38]

Ashok Kumar Fellowship[edit]

The Ashok Kumar Fellowship is an opportunity for a graduate to spend three months working at the UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST). The fellowship was jointly funded by the IChemE and the Northeast of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC). However, NEPIC was unable to contribute in 2018 and the Fellowship was not offered in 2019.[39] As of 2021 it is jointly funded by the IChemE and the Materials Processing Institute (reflecting Kumar's employment with British Steel).[40]

The Fellowship was set up in memory of Dr Ashok Kumar, the only serving chemical engineer in the Parliament of the United Kingdom at the time of his sudden death in 2010. Kumar was an IChemE Fellow who had been the Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East.[39]


In response to a considerable reduction in applications to study the subject at UK universities[41] in 2000 the IChemE established an educational programme and website whynotchemeng? to help young people find out more about a career in the field of chemical engineering.[41][42] This was credited with the major rise in applications in the following years.[43][44] The programme included a website, YouTube stream, documents and outreach volunteers. In 2018 the web resource was moved from its own site to one within the IChemE.[41][45]

ChemEng Evolution[edit]

In order to celebrate its centenary, in 2022 the Institution produced a website with short articles about historic matters in the history of chemical engineering and of the IChemE and to host videos and webinars during the year. ChemEng Evolution

Coat of arms[edit]

The coat of arms is a shield with two figures.[46] On the left a helmeted woman, Pallas Athene, the goddess of wisdom, and on the right, a bearded man with a large hammer, Hephaestus the god of technology and of fire. The shield itself shows a salamander as the symbol of chemistry, and a corn grinding mill as a symbol of continuous processes. Between these is a diagonal stripe in red and blue in steps to indicate the cascade nature of many chemical engineering processes. The shield is surmounted by helmet on which is a dolphin, which is in heraldry associated with intellectual activity, and also represents the importance of fluid mechanics. Just below the dolphin are two Integral signs to illustrate the necessity of mathematics and in particular calculus.

The Latin motto is "Findendo Fingere Disco" or "I learn to make by separating".


Peer-reviewed journals[edit]

Other periodicals[edit]


  • Conference Proceedings
  • Technical Guides
  • Safety Books
  • Forms of Contract

Past presidents[edit]

Notable members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "THE INSTITUTION OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERS Charity number: 214379". Charity Commission. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d "Annual Review 2020" (PDF). Institution of Chemical Engineers. April 2021. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  3. ^ Jasi, Amanda (July 2022). "Using Ethics to Power the Profession". The Chemical Engineer. Rugby: IChemE. p. 38. David Bogle has just become the 81st President of the IChemE.
  4. ^ Flavell-While, Claudia (1 March 2012). "George E Davis - Meet the Daddy". The Chemical Engineer. Rugby: IChemE. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  5. ^ "First Beginnings". SCI. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  6. ^ Freemantle, Michael (2012). Gas! Gas! Quick, Boys - How Chemistry changed the First World War. Stroud: Spellmount. ISBN 978 0 7524 6601 9.
  7. ^ a b Evans, Trevor (1 May 2015). "Kenneth Bingham Quinan and colleagues – An explosive start". The Chemical Engineer. Rugby: IChemE. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  8. ^ a b Divall & Johnstone 2000, pp. 35–42
  9. ^ "Sir Arthur McDougall Duckham KCB: 1923—1925". IChemE. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  10. ^ Hinchley 1935, pp. 67–9
  11. ^ "Institution of Chemical Engineers: Inaugural Meeting in London". Chemical Age. London. 6 May 1922. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  12. ^ Donnelly, J. F. (1988). "Chemical Engineering in England 1880-1922". Annals of Science. 45: 555–590.
  13. ^ a b Freshwater 1997, p. 11
  14. ^ a b c "The Institution of Chemical Engineers: Its Origin, Progress and Aims". Chemical Age. London. 25 August 1923. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  15. ^ "Sir Frederic Lewis Nathan: 1925—1927". IChemE. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  16. ^ Divall & Johnstone 2000, pp. 60–61
  17. ^ Divall & Johnstone 2000, p. 66
  18. ^ Rogers, F. H.; Underwood, A. J. V; Donald, M. B; Greene, F. A. (1939). "Annual Report of the Council". Transactions of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. 19: i–ix.
  19. ^ Nathan, F.L; Rogers, F. H.; Hinchley, J. W. (1932). "Annual Report of the Council". Transactions of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. 32: 7–8.
  20. ^ Divall & Johnstone 2000, pp. 72–3
  21. ^ a b Rogers, F. H.; Underwood, A. J. V; Donald, M. B; Greene, F. A. (1939). "Annual Report of the Council". Transactions of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. 18: 1–5.
  22. ^ Divall & Johnstone 2000, p. 263
  23. ^ Oriel, John A.; Donald, M. B.; Warner, F.E. (1956). "Annual Report of the Council". Transactions of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. 34: 1–13.
  24. ^ Freshwater 1997, p. 15
  25. ^ Divall & Johnstone 2000, pp. 216–7
  26. ^ Beaver, Hugh; Warner, F. E.; Odams, R. C. (1958). "Annual Report of Council". Trans Inst Chem Engrs. 36: 226.
  27. ^ Duckett, Adam (13 April 2021). "IChemE pays tribute to Royal Patron Prince Philip". The Chemical Engineer. Rugby: IChemE. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  28. ^ a b Divall & Johnstone 2000, p. 246
  29. ^ "Member Societies". EFCE. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  30. ^ "The Institution of Chemical Engineers". Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  31. ^ Membership Grade Info Archived 2012-12-24 at Accessed 25/09/2012.
  32. ^ "Moulton Medals". IChemE. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  33. ^ "Research and teaching". IChemE. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  34. ^ "Special Interest Groups". IChemE. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  35. ^ "Publications". IChemE. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  36. ^ "Services to the profession". IChemE. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  37. ^ "Services to the Institution". IChemE. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  38. ^ a b c "IChemE Awards, originally called the Excellence in Safety and Environment Awards". IChemE. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  39. ^ a b "Funding for the Ashok Kumar Fellowship" (PDF). IChemE. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  40. ^ Jasi, Amanda (15 July 2021). "IChemE invites Ashok Kumar Fellowship applications". The Chemical Engineer. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  41. ^ a b c "The future of whynotchemeng" (PDF). IChemE. June 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  42. ^ "Making the Grade". Process Engineering. Berkhamsted: Synthesis Media Ltd. 26 October 2000.
  43. ^ "Process, chemical engineering bucks university trend". Process Engineering. Berkhamsted: Synthesis Media Ltd. 24 April 2006.
  44. ^ "Journal Editor awarded CBE". Chemical Engineering Research and Design. 85 (2): ii–iii. 2007. doi:10.1205/cherd.iu.0702.
  45. ^ "whynotchemeng". IChemE. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  46. ^ College of Arms, London, 1964 The Armorial Bearings of the Institution of Chemical Engineers
  47. ^ "Journals - Peer-review research - IChemE". Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  48. ^ "New IChemE President focusses on ethics, respect and inclusivity". IChemE. 15 June 2021. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  49. ^ "New IChemE President focusses on systems thinking and the big picture for process safety". Institution of Chemical Engineers. 13 November 2019. Retrieved 13 November 2019. (Press release)
  50. ^ Freshwater 1997, p. 57
  51. ^ "Presidents". IChemE. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  52. ^ Freshwater 1997, p. 14
  • Divall, Colin; Johnstone, Sean (2000). Scaling Up - The Institution of Chemical Engineers and the Rise of a New Profession. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic. ISBN 0-7923-6692-1.
  • Freshwater, Don (1997). People, pipes and processes. Cambridge: Burlington Press. ISBN 0 85295 390 9.

External links[edit]