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IChemE Chief salutes chemical engineering record
IChemE Chief Executive, David Brown has welcomed a record number of applications to study chemical engineering at UK universities and urged Government not to cap student places.
 UCAS revealed yesterday that 10,068 applications have been made to study chemical engineering in the UK later this year – an unprecedented year-on-year increase of almost 18% and the latest phase of a remarkable renaissance in the process industries.
Since 2001, the number of students applying to study chemical engineering at UK universities has doubled; there are currently a record number of students studying the subject. Brown says it’s welcome news and backs the profession to come out strongly from the recession: “The increase is yet another testimonial to the importance and appeal of the process industries and chemical/biochemical engineering as a profession.
“As we move into economic recovery, chemical engineering graduates are going to play a vital role in ensuring the UK’s competitive success and that it continues to have the skills and talent required to attract future inward investment.
“But now Government must prove it recognises how vital engineering talent is to the UK and reconsider its policy on capping university places. We will need more chemical engineering; young people are up for it; we owe it to them and our economy to provide the university capacity required,” adds Brown.
Julie Pollard, manager of IChemE’s whynotchemeng campaign, launched in 2001 to combat the shortage of students studying chemical engineering says she is proud of the role whynotchemeng has played: “Talking to current chemical engineering undergraduates prove that they recognise whynotchemeng and it has made an impact on their decision to study the subject at university. The campaign has been funded exclusively by IChemE and through sponsorship from both universities and process industry employers, without a penny of public money.
“It proves what can be achieved with a pool of passionate chemical engineers, enthusiastic about their profession and keen to talk to schoolchildren about the benefits of a career in the process industries,” says Pollard.
Professor Jonathan Seville, Dean of Engineering at Warwick University says:  “In the last few years we have seen a concerted effort by departments, IChemE and committed individuals to project the image of the subject as widely and as excitingly as possible. This has made the difference between simply recovering a bit and the really strong recovery we are now seeing.”

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