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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

What is chemical engineering
Following the launch of the Davidson Inventors Challenge last October  we received an amazing response with 54 registrations: we have been working with nearly 200 students from about 45 different schools from across the UK. Over the last few months Year 9-12 students have been working in teams researching sustainable development goals and selecting a problem or a challenge to work on. Under the supervision of a team of 14 reviewers, including some of our researchers and graduates in industry who have provided feedback along the way, students have produced a project outline and a final report with an aim to come up with sustainable, innovative solutions to their selected problems or challenges.
The Davidson Inventors Challenge (DIC) Final and Awards Ceremony will be taking place on Friday 28 May, 3 pm (see programme and registration below). The three shortlisted teams will then present their inventions to a large audience - not only  all participating schools but also the DIC organising team and reviewers, members of  the Department and Chemical Engineering and graduates in industry.
The key aim of this challenge is to engage students with the chemical engineering discipline but also help dispel myths about what chemical engineering really is about and what chemical engineers do. Participating students have not only learned about sustainable development goals but have also got a taste of what being a chemical engineer is like by putting key skills into practice such as problem-solving, data analysis, critical thinking and commercial awareness.

Register here for the Davidson Inventors Challenge Final 

Speaker bios

Programme poster 


15:00-15:30 pm Welcome and intro: Davidson Inventors Challenge, Sustainable Development Goals and Chemical Engineering at Cambridge

  • Welcome by our Head of Deparment, Professor Clemens Kaminski
  • What is Chemical Engineering and what do Chemical Engineers do? (CEB Director of Teaching, Dr Andy Sederman)
  • Davidson Inventors Challenge, SDGs, and relevance to Chemical Engineering (Dr Kamran Yunus Senior Teaching associate)
  • Professor John Davidson and Chemical Engineering at Cambridge (Chemical Engineering Alumnus Peter Davidson)

15.30- 16.30 pm Presentation from the four shortlisted student teams

• AdMeliora (Year 12, The Tiffin girls school Richmond Road, Kingston upon Thames)
• Geobetter (Year 11, Sacred Heart High School, Newcastle upon Tyne)
• Hydroponics (Year 12, Brighton College, Brighton)
• SCEEM (Year 12, South Hampstead High School, London)

16.30-16.45 pm Alumna Dr Rachel Cooke on her exciting career journey in chemical engineering


BREAK 4.45-5 pm Judging Panel deliberations


17.00-17.30 pm Keynote speaker: MP Nadhim Zahawi, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment 

An exciting chemical engineering career and the success of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in UK.  

17.30- 17:45 The President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), Professor Stephen Richardson

A note on Chemical Engineering of the future and announcement of DIC 2021 winners and runner-ups, and presentation of  Award Certificates.

17:45 Closing remarks by DIC organising Team


We would like to take this opprtunity to thank our partners, The Association of Science and Technology in Malaysia (ASTI) and The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), and all the participating schools and students. And to the prospective chemical engineers and biotechnologists of the future we say: 'the world is really your oyster…'

Friday, 28 May, 2021 - 15:00 to 17:45
Event location: