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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Clemens Kaminski

Welcome from our Head of Department, Professor Clemens Kaminski

In the twenty years since I arrived at this department, CEB has seen many developments, changes, and challenges, but I cannot recall a single period as extraordinary as the one we are experiencing now. 

The challenges we face are severe. For the first time in our history, we have to deliver most of our teaching activities remotely. We will teach and continue to conduct our research under rules of social distancing. The landscape in which we conduct our academic and research work will change because of Brexit. 

However, if there is one place where I think we can rise to these challenges, it is here, in Cambridge, in our department.

Thanks to our fantastic staff, we have been able to resume research operations quickly and efficiently after the lockdown period. Whilst our support team was working tirelessly to enable us to reopen the department safely, our teaching team was busy planning the delivery of a world class teaching programme in times of a pandemic. Over the past three months, research students in the department have been vital in implementing systems that minimise the risk of virus transmission between researchers so that our building could be occupied safely.  Even during lockdown, activities continued in the department on COVID related research and CEB scientists have been instrumental, among other things, in the development of a portable ventilator technology for use in low income countries.  I am proud of the achievements and leadership of CEB members during these difficult times and thank our support staff for the immense effort they are making on my and my colleagues’ behalf under what are truly exceptionally difficult conditions. 

Much will continue to be different as we go forward. It is critical that we embrace new opportunities as we come out of this pandemic and that we lead the way in helping society (re)build prosperity, resilience, and a healthy and sustainable future.  We have world leading competencies in materials, processes, sensors, biology, and computation through which we support our impact themes in energy and healthcare. We have made appointments to strengthen our portfolio, through a recruitment strategy already begun by my predecessors, Profs. Dennis and Hall.  Dr Ewa Marek and Dr. Sam Stranks bring vital expertise in future energy systems.  Prof. Ross King and Dr. Sebastian Ahnert bring expertise in machine learning and Big Data. I extend my warmest welcome to them. 

My colleagues address and find solutions to some of the most challenging problems affecting us today. 

I firmly believe that we should drive innovation via excellent fundamental science and that this is our unique ‘selling point’ that sets us apart from the competition (a conclusion reinforced by the findings of an external research review of our department). Our best collaborations take exactly this approach. World leading science requires a diverse set of people, skills, ideas, and opinions. I am immensely proud of the talent we unite in our department and I will strive to create a working culture in which individuals can communicate and collaborate openly and effectively. I will strive to build an environment that respects and protects the interests of all staff and students, and in which people enjoy working, thrive, and thus excel in all areas.

Our aim is to produce the academic, industrial and entrepreneurial leaders of tomorrow, together with the industrial processes and bioscientific advances they will employ. Our strategy is to work at the interfaces between engineering, chemistry, biology and physics. We create a unique multidisciplinary research environment within the University of Cambridge, in which collaborations with academic and industrial organisations flourish.  Our research programmes encompass sustainable reaction engineering, chemical product and process design, healthcare, measurement, and materials science. The fusion of leading biotechnology research with chemical engineering skills, within an ethos of commercial awareness, supports our continuing development and discovery at the science-engineering interface.

The lifeblood of CEB is its people and we strongly welcome the very best staff, students and researchers from around the world to become part of its mission. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity.  Currently, we recognise that there is a great deal of uncertainty around the referendum result calling for the UK to leave the European Union. However, this will not affect our inclusive approach and proactive international outlook to make CEB an attractive place for the very best global talent.

We encourage exceptional and highly motivated graduates from all corners of the world to consider our range of engaging and stimulating study opportunities, and graduate student programmes. Our innovative research, underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture, spans the wide range of disciplines embodied by modern chemical engineering and biotechnology. Our commitment is to apply research for the benefit of society. We would like you to be part of our success in achieving this.

Professor Clemens Kaminski

Head of Department

Our mission

To be world-leading in research, education and impact in chemical engineering and biotechnology and its application to industry and healthcare.

  1. Research: the highest-quality research in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment, which shapes and defines the future direction of chemical engineering and biotechnology, and creatively interfaces with chemistry, biology, physics and medicine to solve challenges facing industry and society.
  2. Education: to educate students so that they can:
    • master the complexities of physical, chemical and biological systems at  all scales
    • develop, design and synthesise safe and sustainable processes and products
    • exploit discoveries
    • work within industry, academia, business, society and government.
  3. Impact: to exploit innovations from research through transfer of our technological advances to industry or by spinning out companies.
  4. People: we value all of our colleagues and their views and opinions will be heard and respected. We are committed to staff development to give fulfilling careers. We are committed to equality & diversity and the Athena SWAN tenets.