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The University of Southampton

Southampton announces Director of Chemical Engineering

Published: 20 December 2019
Professor Xunli Zhang
Director of Chemical Engineering Professor Xunli Zhang

The University of Southampton has announced a new Director of Chemical Engineering for its expanding department which is focused on sustainable technologies.

Professor Xunli Zhang, a leading expert in bioengineering and microsystems, will direct the Department of Chemical Engineering over the next two years with support from new teaching and research staff.

The distinguished chemical engineer is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Chartered Chemist (CChem). He has a strong cross-disciplinary research background and experience at the interface of chemistry, chemical engineering and life sciences.

Xunli says: “It is my privilege to be leading on establishing a high-quality undergraduate and postgraduate offering in chemical engineering which fits perfectly into the wide spectrum of world-class engineering and chemistry education, research and enterprise at Southampton.

“The new Department of Chemical Engineering will draw on Southampton’s innovative research in areas including low carbon technology, fine chemicals, green energy and water/wastewater engineering.”

The University launched its MSc Advanced Chemical Engineering programme this autumn and has plans in motion for an undergraduate programme. The growth in the discipline will create skilled engineers to address the global challenge of a low carbon future. Clean growth is at the heart of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy and relies on the development, manufacture and use of low carbon technologies, systems and services that cost less than high carbon alternatives.

Southampton is building a new Chemical Engineering teaching laboratory on Highfield Campus, joining new facilities being installed as part of the £12m investment in state-of-the-art teaching spaces for Chemistry.

Dr Mohamed Hassan Sayed will arrive as an Associate Professor in January 2020, moving from a post as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Energy and Electronic Engineering at the University of Portsmouth. His research interests include work on intelligent modelling and control to optimise building energy management systems.

Dr Nuno Bimbo has been appointed to a lectureship post which will start in spring 2020. He has developed a breadth of expertise in the areas of energy and sustainability, with a research portfolio over the past four years at Lancaster University focusing on energy applications of nanoporous materials.

The new Chemical Engineering staff will embed experience in Southampton from current departments that are ranked in the top 20 UK universities for Chemical Engineering in the Complete University Guide 2020 and Guardian University Guide 2020. The universities were also ranked first and second in the Complete University Guide 2020 for graduate prospects in the discipline.

Alongside the educational delivery, the University will launch a Centre of Excellence in Continuous Digital Chemical Engineering Science in 2020, led by Professor Richard Whitby, providing a cross-disciplinary platform for research and industrial collaborations.

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