Chemical Engineers Will Gather for Conference Offering an Expansive Technical Program and Eminent Lecturers, Nov. 7–11 in Boston; Nov. 15–19 online

American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Annual Meeting spotlights a diverse and evolving profession; innovations in energy, health care, biotechnology, materials, manufacturing

New York, NY, Oct. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) showcases the essential roles that chemical engineers play in addressing societal and industrial challenges at the organization’s 2021 Annual Meeting, to be held in Boston, Massachusetts, November 7–11, and as a virtual event, November 15–19.

Chemical engineering researchers, practitioners, entrepreneurs, and innovators worldwide will gather at the conference, where they will explore the field’s latest developments and opportunities to apply chemical engineering expertise to help solve problems in energy, manufacturing, health care, and resource sustainability — to name some of the topics on the agenda. 

In addition to chemical engineering fundamentals, the conference will delve into new areas of research and application. One new topical conference will explore material interfaces that address energy needs, with sessions addressing solar energy, hydrogen storage, electro- and photo-catalysis, separations, and more. Another new conference examines innovations in the engineering of efficient and sustainable processes for designing and producing products. Other updated topical conferences expand upon the challenges surrounding waste plastics, workplace skills for chemical engineers, and intersectionality and inclusivity in the workforce.

Returning topical conferences showcase chemical engineering innovation. These include breakthroughs in synthetic and renewable fuels, microbes at biomedical interfaces, applications of data science to molecules and materials, sensors, entrepreneurship, and contributions toward solving the COVID-19 pandemic. The Next-Generation Manufacturing conference incorporates topics related to Industry 4.0, process intensification, smart manufacturing, and cybersecurity. These topics and more will be elaborated at more than 750 technical sessions. 

At the associated Annual Student Conference (in-person, November 5–8; virtual 13–14), chemical engineering undergraduates will take part in career workshops, scholarly competitions, and networking events. Highlights include a welcome keynote address by Paul Mensah, Vice President of Biotherapeutics Pharmaceutical Science at Pfizer; a research poster session; a recruitment fair; and the 23rd running of AIChE’s signature Chem-E-Car Competition. Also, at the Virtual K-12 STEM Showcase, chemical engineering undergraduates and professionals will exhibit chemical engineering principles to an online audience. 

With its emphasis on technical innovation and the professional growth of chemical engineers, AIChE’s Annual Meeting is the foremost educational forum for chemical engineers working in research and development. Organizers expect more than 5,000 professional engineers, scientists, and business leaders to attend the meeting to gain insight into the field’s growth areas and to connect with other professionals. 

Special events:

• Theme: Building the Bridge in 21st Century Education: Chemical Engineering Industry + Academia. The conference’s theme will be unveiled at two panel discussions about the academia-industry partnership. On Monday, November 8, thought leaders from industry and academia will examine the undergraduate curriculum and consider how to better prepare the next generation of chemical engineers to meet the changing needs of the workforce. The second panel, on Tuesday, November 9, considers ways to inspire the profession’s future entrepreneurs. 

• 2020 and 2021 Hoover Medalists (Monday, November 8): Lectures will be presented by two recipients of the Hoover Medal, an interdisciplinary engineering prize that recognizes an engineer for contributions to humankind. The 2020 honoree, William S. Hammack, the Lycan Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will discuss his efforts to bring engineering education to the public, highlighted by his radio and internet appearances as the Engineer Guy. The 2021 Hoover medalist is Cato T. Laurencin, University Professor, Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and CEO of the University of Connecticut’s Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering. He is being honored for mentoring underrepresented engineers and for his work at the policy level to foster justice, equity, fairness, and diversity.

• The Langer Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Excellence Lecture (November 8) will be presented by 2021 fellowship recipient Aditya M. Kunjapur, Assistant Professor, University of Delaware, who will discuss his use of synthetic biology to create fuels, chemicals, materials, and therapeutics with enhanced functionality. The session will include remarks by biomedical pioneer Robert S. Langer, the Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

• The Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering Lecture (Tuesday, November 9) will be given by AIChE’s 2020 Acrivos Award recipient, David V. Schaffer, Hubbard Howe Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Schaffer’s lecture will describe the directed evolution of new adeno-associated viral vectors for clinical gene therapy.  

• The James E. Bailey Award Lecture (November 9) is sponsored by AIChE’s Society for Biological Engineering (SBE). The 2021 lecturer is James J. Collins, the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science at MIT. In his talk, “Synthetic Biology: Life Redesigned,” Collins will present an overview of synthetic biology applications in biotechnology and medicine.

• The SBE’s Daniel I. C. Wang Award Lecture, (November 9) will be presented by William E. Bentley, the Robert E. Fischell Distinguished Chair of Engineering and the Inaugural Director of the Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices at the University of Maryland.

• The John M. Prausnitz AIChE Institute Lecture (Wednesday, November 10) will be delivered by Arup K. Chakraborty, Institute Professor and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Physics, and Chemistry at MIT. AIChE’s 73rd Institute Lecturer, Chakraborty will discuss the challenges faced in developing vaccines that are effective against rapidly mutating viruses, and how approaches from engineering and the life sciences are addressing this challenge.

 The William R. Schowalter Lecture (Wednesday, November 10) is named for fluid mechanics pioneer Schowalter of Princeton University. The lecture will be given by Eric S. G. Shaqfeh, the Lester Levi Carter Professor of Engineering at Stanford University, who will discuss particle suspensions in elastic fluids.

For a complete schedule of events and information about conference registration, visit

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About AIChE

AIChE is a professional society of more than 60,000 chemical engineers in 110 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities, and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontiers of chemical engineering research in such areas as energy, sustainability, biological and environmental engineering, nanotechnology, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at

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