Click for next page ( 176


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 175
T E N Recommendations HIS REPORT HAS been about the future contributions of chemical engineering ~ research to the national well-being, and about emerging research frontiers of special importance. Some of the implications of these frontiers have already been explored in individ- ual chapters. In this chapter the committee draws together its principal recommendations for action by policymakers in four sectors: academia, industry, government, and profes- sional societies. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ACADEMIA Education and Training of Chemical Engineers Chemical engineering undergraduate curri- cula have traditionally been designed to train students for employment in the conventional chemical processing industries. The current core curriculum is remarkably successful in this ef- fort. Chemical engineers will continue to play a major role in the chemical and petroleum industries, but new areas of application as well as new emphases on environmental protection; process safety; and advanced computation, de- sign, and process control will require some modifications of the curriculum. These modifications will not entail a massive revision of the curriculum. Continued emphasis is needed on basic principles (e.g., thermody- namics, transport, separations, reaction engi- neering, and design) that cut across many appli- cations. A new way of teaching these principles, though, is needed. Students must be exposed to both traditional and novel applications of chemical engineering. Emerging applications should be highlighted and an expanded range of process scales and chemistries should be taught. Chemical engineers of the future will not only be interested in the transport and chemical reactions of small molecules, they will also be interested in large organic molecules, proteins, polymers (both organic and inorganic), inter- faces, surfaces, solids, and composite materials. Each of these new areas of interest to the extent that they are not now treated in depth in the core courses of the curriculum will require new emphasis in teaching. Core courses such as separations (unit operations) should be modified to cover new challenges. For example, a separations course might be modified to ad- dress challenges in bioprocessing and ultrapur- ification by placing less emphasis on distillation, absorption, and conventional extraction, and more emphasis on examples of generating high selectivity in separations.' Similarly, unit op- erations laboratories and design courses in most institutions are in need of rethinking and revi- talization to accommodate new needs and op- portunities. Another important need in the curriculum is for a far greater emphasis on design and control for process safety, waste m~n~m~zat~on, and minimal adverse environmental impact. These themes need to be woven into the curriculum wherever possible. The AIChE Center for Chemical Process Safety is attempting to pro- vide curricular material in this area, but a larger 75

OCR for page 175
effort than this project is needed. Several large chemical companies have significant expertise in this area. They should do more to share their insights and methods with academic researchers and educators. (See "Recommendations for Industry" below.) Certain emerging specialties of chemical en- gineering will require a deeper exposure of engineering students to other disciplines. For example: Students interested in biochemical engi- neering will need to become familiar with the language and concepts of the biosciences, par- ticularly molecular biology. For those interested in advanced materials, more in-depth knowledge of statistical and con- tinuum mechanics than that provided in trans- port and mechanics courses seems essential. Chemical engineering students interested in electronic materials need to understand the elements of electrical engineering and solid- state physics in order to work productively with colleagues in these disciplines. A greater emphasis on surface and inter- facial phenomena is needed for all chemical engineers interested in materials engineering. It will not be easy to shoehorn all of these elements into a 4-year program, and the initia- tion of carefully delimited electives and options for students is probably the best approach. The committee applauds the recent action of the AIChE to allow more flexibility in the choice of science electives by undergraduates in ac- credited departments. The development of such electives and new course sequences is not a casual undertaking. It will require greater in- volvement by faculty in providing advice and counsel to students at the sophomore and junior level, who may not be prepared to make defin- itive choices about specialization in their major. The mix of industries into which chemical engineers are being introduced is changing rap- idly. Chemical engineers have always been proud of their flexibility and willingness to rise to new challenges. This characteristic will be needed more than ever in the future, as diversity within the processing industries greatly in- creases. For example: FRONTIERS I.\ ~L~Jr<~: E^~^lYEERING There will be a greater variety of products and processes, increased demands for quality, and a necessity to shift rapidly from one product to another. Chemical engineers will be working with a broader spectrum of colleagues; not just chem- ists, but physicists, biologists, material scien- tists, and electrical engineers. The chemical processing industries will increasingly have a global outlook. They will require engineers with a greater understanding of the global economy, knowledge of engineer- ing research and advances occurring in other countries, and appreciation for other cultures. These industries will be operating in a complex regulatory environment. They will re- quire engineers with a broad perspective on economic and environmental policy. With the current emphasis on streamlined management and lean staffing in the processing industries, chemical engineers will have fewer peers and fewer superiors; their ability to make decisions will be tested early and often. Chemical engineering faculty need to consider these challenges in planning for tomorrow's more broadly based curriculum. The Future Size and Composition of Academic Departments How can chemical engineering departments implement this broader curriculum as well as aggressively respond to new research challenges and opportunities? A bold step is needed. The committee recommends that universities con- duct a one-time expansion of chemical engi- neering departments over the next 5 years, exercising a preference for new faculty capable of research at interdisciplinary frontiers. This expansion will require a major commit- ment of resources on the part of universities, government, private foundations, and industry. Can such a preferential commitment to one discipline be justified, particularly at a time of severe budgetary austerity? Each agency re- sponsible for funding chemical engineering re- search will have to answer this question for itself, but the committee believes that the fol

OCR for page 175
RECO^~VE.~. TIONS lowing arguments for expansion are worthy of consideration. U.S. leadership in technology is under challenge today as never before. Future markets for biotechnology products, advanced mate- rials, and advanced information devices will be won by those who are best able to integrate innovative product design with efficient process design. Chemical engineers, the uniquely "mo- lecular" engineers, have powerful tools that can be refined and applied to these challenges. They can make significant contributions to U.S. ca- pabilities in these high-technology areas. The existing chemical processing industries are high-technology enterprises too. Moreover, the chemical industry is one of the most suc- cessful U.S. businesses on world markets, with a $7.8 billion trade surplus in 1986. The chemical processing industries require a continuing sup- ply of highly trained engineers armed with the latest insights from the core research areas of chemical engineering. Redirecting resources from these established and vital research programs to the emerging applications of the discipline risks reducing the U.S. leadership position in a large and very successful industrial sector. Is this an appropriate course to take at a time when industrial competitiveness and the large U.S. trade deficit are such pressing national concerns? increasing the number of research groups and the resource levels in chemical engineering seems to be the most practical way of (1) moving chemical engineers aggressively into the new areas among this report's research priorities while (2) maintaining the discipline's current strength and excellence. The following recom- mendations for universities are intended to en- sure that such an additional investment would be used most effectively. Chemical engineering departments should use additional resources to appoint and en- courage faculty to address the frontier areas identified in this report. Many of these frontiers will require more emphasis on interdisciplinary research. The selected appointment of chemical engineering faculty whose backgrounds are from 177 other disciplines should be encouraged. Cross- disciplinary research partnerships between chemical engineers and colleagues in other dis- ciplines should be stimulated and rewarded. (See sections on "Cross-disciplinary pioneer awards" and "Cross-disciplinary partnership awards" under "Recommendations for Gov- ernment.") Academic institutions should make sub- stantial commitments (e.g., cost sharing and maintenance for instrumentation and facilities) to make additional outside investments in chem- ical engineering as effective as possible. This will be particularly needed to justify additional funding for advanced instrumentation and com- puters needed for research and education. Academic institutions should take steps to strengthen even further the long-standing ties between chemical engineering departments and the chemical process industries, with a partic- ular emphasis on the flow of personnel between academia and industry. Mechanisms for in- creased interchange include appointing indus- trial researchers as adjunct professors in aca- demia; providing industrial sabbaticals for university professors; inviting industrial re- searchers as seminar speakers on campus; plac- ing student researchers in industrial laborato- ries; and expanding the number of masters degree programs, evening continuing education programs, and other short courses targeted to industrial research personnel. ~ Chemical engineering departments should use additional resources to promote greater interaction with small process technology firms in electronics and biotechnology. These firms play an unheralded but key role in developing industrial technology in these areas. (See section on "Improvment of Links Between Chemical Engineering Departments and Small Process Technology Firms" under "Recommendations for Government.") RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INDUSTRY The committee encourages decision makers in the chemical processing industries to increase their commitment to research in their companies both to retain their world leadership in chemical technology and to deliver to American society

OCR for page 175
178 the maximum benefit from its investment in basic research. These industries should take advantage of opportunities to leverage their funds by working cooperatively in generic non- proprietary areas, such as in-situ processing and solids processing (see Chapter 6) and health, safety, and environmental protection (see Chap- ter 71. Industry should also continue to commit re- sources to academic research, for reasons that go far deeper than the desirability of additional funds. The development of any engineering field, and particularly one as closely linked to manufacturing as chemical engineering, needs the intellectual guidance that can only come from an industry with a stake in research out- comes. Also, industry has to be linked to aca- demia so that new laboratory results can be rapidly transferred to product and process de- sign. An industry committed to financial spon- sorship and personnel exchanges with academia will make sure that the crucial industrial intel- lectual involvement needed for success exists. Thus, the committee urges that: industry continue to expand its support of academic chemical engineering research in each of the priority research areas identified in this report, and policymakers in industry facilitate the ex- change of people across the interface between industry and academia. A number of possible mechanisms for such exchanges are listed under "Recommendations for Academia." They will be most effective if corporate culture and in- centive structures promote their use. One area where intellectual involvement from industry is essential is in the area of process safety. Several large chemical companies have committed substantial resources to advancing their understanding of this area. The generic insights that have emerged from their work need to be shared with academic researchers and educators as well as with smaller chemical companies. The AIChE Center for Chemical Process Safety is one mechanism for such trans- fer of knowledge. Others, including direct con- tacts between academic and industrial research- ers in this area, are needed. `~'RONNER5 IN CHEMICAL ENGINEERIAG RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GOVERNMENT Balanced Portfolios Maintaining the health of any research enter- prise is a difficult undertaking. It requires the recognition that future research advances are unpredictable and may substantially reorder the initial priorities assigned to particular areas of investigation. It demands an appreciation that researchers in different areas of science and technology, or at different stages in their profes- sional careers, have different requirements for support. To maintain the vitality of chemical engineering, and to enable its researchers to make the greatest possible contribution to solv- ing the problems facing society, a philosophy of support for the field is needed that can be described in terms of three "balanced portfo- lios": one of priority research areas, one of funding sources, and one of support mecha- nisms. The committee's balanced portfolio of priority research areas has already been discussed in the Executive Summary and the preceding chap- ters of the report. A discussion of the portfolio of funding sources is presented later in this chapter and, more comprehensively, in Appen- dix A. The following section discusses the committee's views on a balanced portfolio of support mechanisms. Support Mechanisms in Perspective Different research frontiers require different mixes of support mechanisms. The appropriate mix for a particular area depends on several of factors, including the nature of the scientific area; its requirements for expensive equipment, instruments, or facilities; and the need for trained personnel from that area in the broader econ- omy. Table 10.1 summarizes a range of possible funding mechanisms for research. Many of these mechanisms are well known and need no further elaboration. Some of them, however, are new mechanisms being proposed by the committee and are briefly described below. The great number of possible support mechanisms for academic research should be placed in the

OCR for page 175
RECOMMENDATIONS TABLE 10.1 Possible Support Mechanisms for Chemical Engineering Research Support Mechanism Single Investigator Awards Likely Applicants Starter grants Presidential Young Investigator awards Solicited project grants Career development awards Unsolicited project grants Research excellence awardsa Cross-Disciplinary Awards Cross-disciplinary pioneer awardsa Cross-disciplinary partnership awardsa Equipment and Facilities Equipment and instrumentation grants Regional and national equipment facilities Centers and Academic Industrial Consortia NSF Science and Technology Centers Engineering Research Centers Other centers and consortiaa Improving links to small high- technology firmsa New investigators Extremely promising new investigators Younger investigators Extremely meritorious younger investigators Meritorious midstream investigators Extremely meritorious midstream and senior investigators Promising new investigators moving into chemical engineering from other disciplines Two or three co-pr~ncipal investigators from different disciplines One or more research groups with special requirements Researchers needing unique equipment or facilities (e.g., synchrotrons or neutron- scattering facilities) Collaborative groups of principal investigators Cross-disciplinary engineering research attacking several aspects of a common problem area Large research centers funded by industry at academic campuses Small process technology companies working with academic investigators a New mechanism discussed in the text. following perspective. Academic chemical en- gineering research has traditionally taken place in the milieu of the small research group. Led by a single principal investigator, the small research group enjoys the advantages of decen- tralization and freedom to move in new direc- tions as opportunities unfold. The environment of a small group, where individual students take responsibility for significant parts of the group's work, also facilitates the training of independ- ent-minded researchers. Much of the vitality of chemical engineering over its history can be traced to innovative and exploratory research groups led by individual principal investigators. 179 Because of these advantages, and because many of the most exciting research problems in chemical engineering lend themselves to the scale and environment of the small research group, grants to individual academic investi- gators should continue to remain the mainstay of the portfolio of support mechanisms for research. In this context, how can interdisciplinary research on the frontiers of the discipline be best conducted? There is an obvious role for large assemblages of researchers in centers of various types. The committee also believes that the special needs of interdisciplinary research

OCR for page 175
180 areas can be met by creating two new funding mechanisms modeled on the best features of the small group model. Cross-disciplinary partnership awards. The first mechanism is designed to encourage two or three small research groups to submit joint applications. Such a partnership would allow researchers to begin to communicate across disciplinary lines without necessitating the cre- ation of large and formal entities. Cross-disci- plinary partnership awards should be considered in a variety of research areas where interdisci- plinary cooperation is vital, and particularly for research areas associated with the emerging technologies described in Chapters 3 through 5 of this report. A case in point would be bio- chemical engineering where more effective links in research and training are needed between chemical engineers and life scientists. ~ Cross-disciplinary pioneer awards. The second proposed interdisciplinary funding mechanism would encourage top-quality young researchers trained in other disciplines (e.g., molecular biology, chemistry, materials sci- ence, and solid-state physics) to accept tenure- track faculty positions in chemical engineering departments at leading universities. The com- mittee believes that these departments would be enriched by the judicious appointment of young faculty who are at the cutting edge of disciplines important to chemical engineering frontiers. Some appointments of this type are already being made, but these "pioneers" face considerable obstacles in making the transition from the area in which they were trained to another discipline. These include the difficulties of immersing oneself in a new intellectual area while trying to start a new research program that, absent a track record of success, might not appeal to proposal reviewers (whether from the pioneer's initial or newfound field) who have the more traditional perspectives of estab- lished disciplines. The proposed award would provide start-up research funding for up to 5 years. It would allow cross-disciplinary pioneers the opportunity to engage themselves fully in chemical engineering research so that they can, by the end of the award, contribute to the intellectual life and teaching of their department ~4~51~/~'i~5 I.\ 4~iC4t ElYGilVEER*iNG and compete with other researchers on an eq- uitable basis in the peer-review system. Another type of individual award that belongs in the balanced portfolio is the type of ''research excellence award" exemplified in the industrial world by the IBM Fellows program. These awards would choose extremely meritorious investigators for research support on the basis of the creativity, productivity, and significance of their recent work, rather than on the basis of a project proposal. They would be provided funding for themselves and one or two associ- ates to pursue topics entirely of their own choosing for a few years. The result is that a select group of the very best researchers would receive the opportunity to explore more spec- ulative and high-potential research ideas. An experimental program of this type, with no more than 15 such awards active at any given time, might leaven the entire field of chemical engi- neering as well as provide an award that would represent the pinnacle of individual personal achievement in chemical engineering research. Like other fields where the small research team is still a vital and appropriate funding mode (e.g., chemistry, solid-state physics, bi- ology, and materials science), the cost of con- ducting cutting-edge research in chemical en- gineering is growing rapidly. The complex problems of the future will require groups that are larger than today's. The cost of state-of- the-art instrumentation and computational fa- cilities will continue to grow. It is important that agencies funding chemical engineering re- search ensure that their investment is made most effective by realistically estimating the research costs of groups at the frontiers of the field. In Appendix A (Table A.2), the committee provides its own estimates of appropriate levels of support for groups of different sizes. Partic- ularly in a time of budgetary stringency, re- search effectiveness is maximized by funding a smaller number of excellent projects ade- quately, rather than funding a large number of projects inadequately. Funding agencies with vital programs of sup- port for small research groups may also want to consider implementing one of the following two mechanisms:

OCR for page 175
RECOMMENDA TIONS Improvement of links between chemical engineering departments and small process technology firms. There is an important problem in some key emerging technologies that is not addressed by existing programs in funding agen- cies. It deals with the generation and transfer of expertise and ideas from the research labo- ratory to the production line in biotechnology and process technologies for electronic, pho- tonic, and recording materials and devices. In these areas, a key role in generating new process concepts and equipment is played by a large number of relatively small firms. These firms are capital-poor but rich in problems that would benefit markedly from the insights of academic chemical engineers. The United States could significantly boost its competitive position in these areas by facilitating information transfer between academia and this segment of industry. The problem for funding agencies with an in- terest in promoting U.S. capabilities in this area is how to create incentives for academic and industrial researchers to seek out and forge links with one another. Since the partnerships that the committee would like to see fostered will be individualized to the particular needs and interests of the participants, it recommends that any program allow for a wide range of proposed activities. Examples of the sort of initiatives that might be funded include the following: (1) Grants to provide special instrumentation and facilities to be shared by researchers from chemical engi- neering departments and high-technology firms. The facilities or instrumentation would be lo- cated at a university, but available for use by researchers at the high-technology firms. (2) Sabbatical awards for academics at smaller firms that are not likely to be plugged into a large university-based center. (3) Starter grants for industrial liaison programs in chemical engi- neering departments. A key feature of any of these programs would have to be significant, ongoing person-to-person contact between ac- ademic and industrial research groups. Large research centers and consortia. Cen- ters are a common mechanism of support to stimulate cross-disciplinary interactions among researchers, or to facilitate cooperation among 181 researchers from academic, industrial, and gov- ernment laboratories. The most ambitious pro- gram of support for cross-disciplinary centers is the NSF Engineering Research Centers (ERC) Program. The cross-disciplinary character of many of the frontiers discussed in this report makes them fruitful areas for center-based re- search, a reality that has already been recog- nized by the establishment of ERCs in biopro- cess engineering, compound semiconductors, composite materials, hazardous waste manage- ment, and computer-assisted design. Chemical engineering plays an important role in nearly all these centers. Federal agencies should try to stimulate in- dustrial interest in consortia to bolster U.S. industrial competitiveness in technology. DOE should foster interest in consortia to address macroscale energy and natural resource pro- cessing research. Here, the experiments that need to be carried out are large in size and costly. Generic research could be carried out in such a way as to (1) allow for fruitful inter- change of ideas between industrial and academic researchers, and (2) improve the research effi- ciency of the energy processing industries while leaving each individual energy company free to develop its own proprietary processes and tech- nologies. Another area where the large-scale approach might be appropriate is in research related to environmental protection and process safety. Again, this is an area where cooperation on generic research among companies, as well as between industry and academia, focused on generic research problems, could lead to sig- nificant research advances. EPA should stim- ulate such arrangements to expand the amount of research needed in this area. Recommendations for Specific Federal Agencies National Science Foundation The NSF has a logical role in each of the following frontier research areas. Biotechnology. NSF should sustain the growth and quality of its existing research sup

OCR for page 175
port. This area should be targeted by NSF for new support to cross-disciplinary pioneers, partnerships, instrumentation and facilities, and incentives to improve links between academia and small high-technology firms. Electronic, photonic, and recording mate- rials and devices. The committee recommends a 5-year pattern of budgetary growth to achieve 30 groups funded at an aggregate level of $6 million per year. This area should also be targeted for new support to cross-disciplinary pioneers and improved links between academia and small high-technology firms. Polymers, ceramics, and composite mate- rials. In addition to continued growth in support for research on polymers and polymeric com- posites, a new thrust is recommended to estab- lish six to eight centers for the chemical engi- neering of ceramic materials and composites over the next 5 years, funded at a total annual level of $4 million per year. Cross-disciplinary pioneers should also be supported in this area. Energy and natural resources processing. NSF should sustain its support of basic research in complex behavior in multiphase systems, catalysis, separations, dynamics of solids trans- port and handling, and new scale-up and design methodologies. Environmental protection, process safety, and hazardous waste management. NSF should strongly support continued growth in this area, focusing on engineering design methodology for process safety and waste minimization. In FY 1986, only three chemical engineering groups working in this area were funded by NSF, with total support of less than $250,000. Computer-assisted process and control en- gineering. The committee recommends a 5-year pattern of growth to a program supporting 35 groups with access to state-of-the-art worksta- tions, software, and computer networks, in addition to the existing ERCs related to this topic. These smaller groups should receive total NSF support of $8 million per year as a target, keyed to additional industry support. Surface and interracial engineering. NSF should expand its support in this area, with emphasis on acquisition by chemical engineers of state-of-the-art instrumentation for surface AS lIv CH1~L E^I~1/~G and interface studies. The need for such dedi- cated instrumentation can be met at a funding level of about $5 million per year. To make its most effective contribution to these areas, NSF should consider the following new support mechanisms for chemical engineers. ~ Cross-disciplinary pioneer awards. The committee recommends that a steady-state pro- gram of 25 awards in the three areas identified above be achieved over 5 years, at an average level of $100,000 per award per year. Research excellence awards. The commit- tee recommends that a steady-state program of 15 awards be achieved over 3 years, at an average level of $100,000 per year per award. ~ Improvment of links between chemical en- gineering departments and high-technology firms. NSF should create a program to provide incen- tives for partnerships between academic chemical engineers and researchers in small process tech- nology firms in biotechnology and electronics. Department of Energy The committee proposes major new initiatives for the Office of Fossil Energy and the Office of Energy Research (OER) to support in-situ processing of resources and the development of tomorrow's liquid fuels for transportation. New initiatives are also proposed for these two offices for the chemical engineering of advanced materials and the development of computational methods and process control the Division of Engineering and Geosciences in OER should continue and expand its support of fundamental research while the Office of Fossil Energy starts a new program on applications to design and scale-up of large-scale technologies. An initia- tive is recommended for the Office of Energy Utilization in chemical and process engineering for biotechnology applied to renewable sources for chemical feedstocks. Surface and interracial engineering should be a strong focus for initia- tives in the OER (e.g., catalysis and colloid science and technology) and in Office of Energy Utilization (e.g., corrosion science and electro- chemical engineering).

OCR for page 175
RJECOMMExEJA TI0NS National Institutes of Health The committee recommends that the National Institutes of Health undertake an initiative to support basic research in chemical and process engineering science for ultimate application to biotechnology and biomedical devices. Such an initiative should be targeted towards (1) en- couraging the submission of proposals from cross-disciplinary partnerships between chem- ical engineers and life scientists and (2) shaping the biochemical engineers of the future by using Institutional National Research Service Awards to facilitate the expansion of graduate course requirements in biochemical engineering to in- clude greater exposure to the life sciences. Department of Defense For the Department of Defense (DOD), the main relevant thrust of this report is in the area of materials. The committee recommends that DOD formulate integrated initiatives (i.e., from basic research to testing and evaluation) on problems where improvements in chemical pro- cessing is the key to enhanced performance (e.g., polymer-based optical fiber and compo- nents; processing for high-strength, high-mod- ulus fibers; manufacturing process technology for composite materials; and joining and repair science for complex materials systems based on polymers, ceramics, and composites). At the basic end of the research spectrum, these would translate into major initiatives for support of molecular science and engineering. Environmental Protection Agency The Environmental Protection Agency should revitalize its research grant program in its Office of Exploratory Research and substantially in- crease its support to chemical engineers inves- tigating important challenges to environmental quality. Stability in the EPA research program over several years is needed to attract the best scientific and engineering research talents to these problems and to allow them to work efficiently on their solution. The EPA should also consider creating a national "Center for Engineering Research on Environmental Protection and Process Safety" that would provide both unique state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and computational re- sources to chemical and process engineering researchers from academia, federal laborato- ries, and industry. National Bureau of Standards The small NBS program in chemical engi- neerin~ should receive substantially greater funding to fulfill critical needs for evaluated data and predictive models. The committee supports NBS plans to focus on data needs in emerging technology areas such as biotechnol- ogy and advanced materials. Bureau of Mines The committee recommends that the Bureau fund a modest number of university-based cen- ters focused on in-situ processing of dilute resources. This initiative would complement the one proposed for DOE. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES American Institute of Chemical Engineers Every constituent part of the American In- stitute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) jour- nals, committees, local sections, divisions, and student chapters' should take up the challenge of examining the frontiers presented in this report and, in the context of their mission and purpose, seek out ways of rejuvenating the profession of chemical engineering. The AIChE should set the goal of attracting to its meetings and journals significant numbers of researchers from other disciplines who are working on problems closely related to those at the cutting edge of chemical engineering. The AIChE should provide awards that recognize the achievements of chemical engineering researchers in frontier areas. The Institute should continue to promote reforms in chemical engineering education that would ensure that students would be prepared

OCR for page 175
184 for new challenges. Finally, the AIChE should undertake cooperative efforts with other orga- nizations to advance the interests of the disci- pline. American Chemical Society Over 12,000 chemical engineers are members of the American Chemical Society (ACS), and ACS meetings, journals, and abstracting ser- vices support chemical engineering research in important ways. The findings and recommen- dations of this report should be of interest and concern to the ACS. In fact, many of the recommendations for the AIChE could be prof- itably implemented by the ACS Divisions of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, Colloid and Surface Chemistry, Environmental Chem- istry, Fuel Chemistry, Microbial and Biochem- ical Technology, Polymer Chemistry, and Pol- ymeric Materials: Science and Technology. The ACS is a natural partner for the AIChE in joint undertakings to benefit chemical engineering, and the committee recommends that both or- ganizations pursue opportunities for future joint undertakings. O , , , O Council for Chemical Research The Council for Chemical Research is not a professional society, but it deserves mention in this report because it provides a unique forum for interactions between chemists and chemical engineers and between academic and industrial researchers. It should be credited for building effective bridges among these groups and high- lighting the complementary character of chem- istry and chemical engineering. The committee recommends that the Council continue to pro- mote these interactions, focusing on the fron- tiers in this report that are of mutual interest to chemists and chemical engineers. FRONTIERS IN CHEMICAL ENGINEERING CONCLUSION Chemical engineering is a discipline that in- tegrates the research advances of a number of scientific areas. Paramount among these is chemistry, but fields such as applied mathe- matics, biology, computer science, condensed- matter physics, environmental science and en- gineering, and materials science also provide important insights that chemical engineers use. This report has highlighted chemical engineering accomplishments and frontiers in a number of areas touched on by these disciplines. It is important that these other disciplines remain vital, too. Two years ago, the National Research Coun- cil published a report on research frontiers and needs in chemistry entitled Opportunities in Chemistry, and known colloquially as the "Pi- mentel Report" after its chairman, George C. Pimentel. That report identified many of the same areas discussed in this report and focused on how chemists contribute to them. This com- mittee endorses the recommendations contained in Opportunities in Chemistry, and urges their implementation in addition to the recommen- dations contained in this volume. The two reports, like the two disciplines, should be seen as complementary, not competing. A vital base of chemical science is needed to stimulate future progress in chemical engineering, just as a vital base in chemical engineering is needed to cap- italize on advances in chemistry. NOTE 1. More detailed suggestions for education and train in~ in separations are contained in Separations and Purification: Critical Needs and Opportunities Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1987.