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I’m sure you, like me, have found the world to be a very different place over the last few months. We are currently starting the process of welcoming new students into the School and the academic staff are preparing for blended delivery (online and in person) of lectures, tutorials and laboratories. I have been heartened and hugely impressed with how everyone has pulled together to give the students a programme of activities which, although different, should be highly engaging and most importantly, fun.

As well as adapting our education for the coming term, our researchers are actively involved in the fight against COVID-19. They turned the University’s Collaborative Teaching Laboratory into a mini production line making hand sanitiser for the NHS, 3D printing masks and visors for those working on the frontline of healthcare, and donated spare personal protective equipment. We also have teams researching more efficient facemasks for both medical professional and the general public.

Looking back on the whole year there have been many highlights. In this newsletter we cover all the news and events that we hope keep you informed about Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham. This covers advances in healthcare technologies and plastic recycling, the latest developments from the Birmingham Energy Institute, and student successes. I was delighted to welcome Yvonne Baker, back to the School in March to deliver the annual EPS Distinguished Lecture. Yvonne is best known for creating the STEM Ambassador volunteering scheme and shared her thoughts on how to make engineering more appealing, plus a few of her favourite memories of our beloved school. To top the year off the Energy Society won the Industrial Award at the EPS Societies’ Awards, and BUCES were named Society of the Year!

Finally, a big thank you to those you who have kindly volunteered with the School over the last academic year. This includes mentors, advisory board members, guest speakers, graduates featuring at Open Days, and even some of the international alumni group leaders. If you'd like to get involved too, please get in touch with our Alumni Relations Manager, Grace Surman on

With very best wishes,

Professor Mark Simmons
Head of the School of Chemical Engineering

Read the 2020 Chemical Engineering Alumni Newsletter here.