Iain Burns and and Andrew Rees, from the Department of Chemical Engineering, Cambridge University, are following the PhD with Advanced Chemical Engineering Practice programme. This programme provides for two exchanges with MIT, one academic and the other industrial. The academic part requires that students from the UK go to MIT to undertake a semester of taught courses in the autumn, at the very beginning of their PhD programmes. The industrial part meant that Iain, Andrew and the students from MIT spent 2 months working on site with BP Chemicals at their facility in Hull, UK, in the autumn of 2003.
The photograph shows the students from Cambridge and MIT at BP, Hull.
Whilst in Hull they worked in groups of between 2 and 4 students on projects such as optimising the design of a reactor system and modelling a turbulent fluidised bed reactor. All of the projects are "real-life" problems which do not necessarily have a solution. The projects were challenging and rewarding due to their inherent uncertainty and provided valuable industrial experience at a level which would be difficult to find through normal work experience routes.
Whilst there, they also managed to escape for some weekend trips to show the American students around to places such as York, Edinburgh and Cambridge.