Chemical engineering companies face two difficult issues: taking responsibility for the environment and learning new techniques for handling substances in different physical states.
Strathclyde University runs a Masters course that teaches graduates both.
Waste prevention in the process industry has moved up managers’ list of priorities. The philosophy of treatment of waste at the end of the pipe has changed into designing a process that emits less waste in the first place.
‘It’s a more integrated approach of looking at the process from the use of raw materials,’ says Professor Colin Grant, course director at Strathclyde. ‘What is needed in this type of processing is beyond what would be covered at university.’
Students also learn about financing operations and project management.’Project management, which most students get involved in, is not something that lends itself to undergraduate study,’ says Grant.
It is of more importance to engineers who are being given more responsibility which has little to do with technical knowledge learned at university.
About 50% of the time spent on the course is dedicated to process technology, 30% to management and business and 20% to information technology.
‘The intention of the IT segment is not to train people to use specific software packages,’ says Grant. ‘Delegates get a feel for the capabilities of where the technology is moving.’
The programme lasts three years and has been developed with BP Oil, BP Chemicals and ICI Manufacturing. The first intake is next month.