Simon Perry

Simon Perry
Simon Perry

Our strong links with industry help to ensure that our teaching and research are firmly anchored in the ‘real world’, addressing relevant problems and developing appropriate skills and solutions.

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How do you make sure that the course is up-to-date and relevant?

The unit leaders ensure that materials in their units are regularly updated to reflect the latest research from within the school and from external sources.

The academic staff regularly attend conferences to ensure they are aware of the latest findings in their field of expertise. Each unit is reviewed annually, and takes into account feedback from students.

What kind of balance do you strike between teaching contentand developing skills?

All the taught units in the programme combine formal conceptual learning and problem solving. The taught units use small problem solving sessions to demonstrate the effectiveness of the concepts put forward in the lectures.

More extensive problem solving sessions, often making use of commercially available software, are used in longer practical sessions. The programme also includes two units on Research Techniques and Methods which allow students to develop relevant skills related to research and effective communication.

How does research feed into the syllabus?

Most units within the programme are delivered by staff from the Centre for Process Integration. The research undertaken in the Centre is supported by a consortium of international companies. Research that has demonstrated a positive application in industry is then integrated into units within the programme.

The research projects carried out as part of the MSc programme typically relate closely to current or recent research carried out within the Centre for Process Integration. 

What structure does your course have? Any shared modules with other courses? What kind of lectures or practical work will students be involved in?

The programme has three core taught units – Energy Systems, Utility Systems, and Computer Aided Process Design – these are all taken in the first ‘trimester’. Three further taught units are taken in the second ‘trimester’: these are elective units related to process and/or energy system design. The taught units generally follow a consistent structure of formal lectures and problem-solving sessions, many of which apply specialist software in computer laboratories. A number of the taught units are also undertaken by fourth year undergraduate chemical engineering students.

In the first trimester, the Research Techniques and Methods unit develops skills for critical evaluation of the research literature, and in the second trimester, students plan their research projects, to be carried out in the third trimester. Finally, the research is written up as a Dissertation. In general, these research projects relate to the integration, design and optimisation of refining, chemical or biochemical processes and require students to apply the new knowledge and skills they have developed within the programme.

What are the key features of your course?

The principal feature of the programme is the applicability and relevance of the learning to industry. The programme is the result of emerging research from the Centre for Process Integration within the school, which was initially focused on energy efficiency within the petroleum refining and chemical processing industries, but has been expanded to include the efficient use of raw materials, emissions reduction, and operability.

The financial support from industry, via the Process Integration Research Consortium, has continued for over 30 years. Research undertaken has been transferred to industry via a variety of mechanisms, including software development, and these technologies and methodologies have been extensively and successfully applied within these industries.

As well as the research being central to the content of the programme being offered in Manchester, materials have also been offered in the form of Continuing Professional Development courses which have been taught by staff from Manchester is such countries as Japan, China, Malaysia, Australia, India, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Europe, the United States, Brazil and Colombia. The Research Consortium continues to support the work in Manchester, providing valuable feedback on the practical application of the research in industry, and also on the current problems in industry that requires investigation and solutions.

What kind of employment can graduates go into following this degree?

Our graduates are normally associated with employment in the chemical, petrochemical, and energy related sectors and in engineering and consultancy firms. . Other graduates have taken up positions in ministries of oil or energy or have continued their studies at PhD level around the world.

Why do graduates from your course stand out in the job market?

As well as the specialist skills developed by the study of this programme, our graduates acquire more general skills associated with engineering problem solving, quantitative analysis, a high degree of numeracy, oral and written communication skills, and skills associated with the use of commercially available software (such as MATLAB and Aspen HYSYS) which are used extensively in industry.

What kind of industry relations do you have? How do students benefit from them?

Our continued leadership of the Process Integration Research Consortium has resulted in excellent relationships with both current and ex-members. In addition members and ex-members of staff have built up off-shoot companies that provide services to the chemical processing industry. These strong links with industry help to ensure that our teaching and research are firmly anchored in the ‘real world’, addressing relevant problems and developing appropriate skills and solutions.

What distinguishes this course from similar ones in other institutions?

The Centre for Process Integration within CEAS was the instigator of research in conceptual Process Integration and Design. Although the research and associated methodologies and technologies have been adopted worldwide by industry and academia, the Centre continues to lead this field.

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