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Department of Chemical Engineering

Scientists in a lab conducting an experiment


Our research creates practical advances that improve the economic, environmental and social sustainability of wider society.

We build on the traditional strengths of chemical engineering in Manchester and push its boundaries through multi-disciplinary activities and collaborations.

90% of our research was described as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.

Our interests cover the spectrum from understanding the fundamentals of molecular design and interactions that underpin the discipline, to the practical application and exploitation of chemical engineering research. We invest in industrial-scale facilities to support our work, and ensure our students and collaborators get the full benefits of interacting with our researchers.

Explore our key areas of focus, discover our major themes and hear from some of our staff.

Our research challenges


Climate change, declining oil reserves and increased energy demands are among the greatest challenges to our society in the 21st century. There is an urgent need for action.

With our work in Manchester, we focus on minimising current energy usage and harmful emissions, maximising the use of current oil reserves, and developing cost-effective alternative energy sources.

Work is driven by a demand to meet future energy usage in an environmentally responsible manner.


Our world faces an unprecedented level of health and well-being challenges due primarily to our ever-increasing global population, ageing demographic and ever-changing lifestyle choices.

In parallel, the cost of discovering and taking new therapeutics to market is increasing exponentially. Many of the exciting activities that show the most therapeutic potential are discarded by pharmaceutical companies due to the lack of suitable delivery vehicles or processing routes.

Our multidisciplinary research teams are working in this area to bring complex real world solutions to improve quality of life.


Sustainability is an underpinning philosophy across all our research. It's also a complex concept and covers many different areas including process design, innovative manufacturing, life cycle sustainability assessment and optimisation, clean and clean-up technologies and sustainable use of resources (water, energy, bio-feedstocks).

The research in this area benefits from an integrated approach that combines science, engineering, environmental and socio-economic analysis.


Water has previously been assumed to be a limitless, low-cost resource. However, there is now increasing awareness of the danger to the environment caused by over-extraction of water. At the same time, regulations are driving towards increased quality and safety of drinking water.

Our research in this grand challenge area is tackling these problems using an integrative experimental and modelling approach. The materials and methodologies developed have been widely adopted both academically and seen many successful practical applications industrially.

Manchester: a hub of innovation

Researchers from the Department of Chemical Engineering speak about their research at The University of Manchester: