Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers (IIChE) was born on the eve of the Indian Independence during the days fomenting with nationalistic aspirations. Dr. Hira Lal Roy, the great visionary and pioneer of Chemical Engineering education in India, along with a few other stalwarts felt the need for such a forum within the country to spread Chemical Engineering education and to foster the interest of the Chemical Engineering profession in general.
A modest beginning was made on 18 May 1947 at a room in Jadavpur University, Kolkata, with 30 members, little fund and nominal infrastructure. IIChE has come a long way since. Today, with around 30,000 members on its roll, the Institute has emerged as the apex professional body of Chemical Engineering professionals in India and has developed a distinct profile of its own. As a matter of fact, IIChE is always moulding itself and playing a proactive role to keep up with the dynamic needs of the economy and the society.
The administration of the Institute is governed by an all-India Council. The day-to-day function of the Institute is carried out with assistance of the staff at the Institute headquarters in Kolkata. The HQ, located in a five-storied building of IIChE’s own at the Jadavpur University campus, is equipped with various modern facilities and amenities. The activities of the Institute are spread across the country through its 46 Regional Centres and more than 181 Student Chapters. The Regional Centres promote and complement the activities and objectives of the Institute within their respective territorial limits by organizing meetings, conferences and seminars; arranging workshops, refresher courses and counselling sessions; promoting research; guiding chemical engineering students in career planning; and, initiating any other activities which are of social, technical and professional relevance to their Members. They serve as an open forum for their Members, who regularly gather for informal get-togethers and exchange of notes. The Regional Centres also confer awards, prizes and scholarships.
Student members, pursuing under-graduate degree courses in Chemical Engineering across the country, can join Student Chapters at their respective academic institutes. Student Chapters function under the auspices of the Regional Centres in the vicinity. The Student Chapters organize lectures, seminars, workshops, short courses, plant visits, career counselling programmes, etc., at regular intervals to better equip and empower the students for their ensuing professional life once they come out of their academic precincts. Academic activities apart, Student Chapters also organize cultural events and sports activities for their members.
IIChE has been conducting the Associate Membership Examination since 1960. It is held twice a year - in March and September - at different centres across the country. One of the primary objectives of the Institute is to facilitate enhancement of skill and enrichment of knowledge in Chemical Engineering and its allied fields. The Associate Membership Examination is meant for those who have been working in the chemical engineering related professions but who do not have a degree in Chemical Engineering even though they have a diploma in Engineering or a degree in Science. This examination offers them an opportunity to qualify as skilled chemical engineers.
The Institute publishes a journal, Indian Chemical Engineer (ICE), which has been the Institute’s main organ since 1959. Even before that, Transactions of Chemical Engineers was regularly published between 1948 and 1958. Presently, five issues of the journal are published in a year. The Special Issues of ICE are rich sources of information with contributions from noted academics and industry bigwigs. Extensively focusing on a topical issue in vast arena of Chemical Engineering, these are much sought after by professionals and students for future reference. Eminent professors, scientists and industry experts are associated with the journal as Editor, Associate Editors and advisors. In 2011, the Institute entered into an agreement with Taylor & Francis, the internationally renowned publishing house, for publication of ICE with a view to obtaining better impact factor for the journal and wider global reach.
The Institute is recognized by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Research projects are undertaken by providing research fund to the tune of Rs.5.0 lakhs for each project, totalling Rs.15.0 lakhs for a period of 3 (three) years. IIChE has also evolved an R&D Vision 2030 with a view to gradually working towards a low-carbon sustainable economy and society. In order to encourage fundamental research initiatives within this framework, certain core areas have been shortlisted, i.e., Nanotechnology, Micro-reactor, Bio-refinery, CO 2 capture and sequestration, Conversion of CO 2 to useful chemicals, Artificial intelligence in chemical processes, etc.
The Annual Session of the Institute, popularly known as the Indian Chemical Engineering Congress (CHEMCON), is the most important event in the calendar of the IIChE. Held every December at one of its centres, the four-day CHEMCON features a host of events, which include memorial lectures, plenary lectures, seminars, symposia, panel discussion, exhibitions, etc. To the Indian chemical engineering fraternity in the country and abroad, CHEMCON offers the most attractive platform, ensuring four days of intensive interface with the best of brains – national and international – in chemical engineering and allied fields.
In line with CHEMCON, a national programme for the students of chemical engineering was introduced in 2005. Held annually, Students’ CHEMCON (SCHEMCON) is an important and popular event, encouraging young minds to showcase their original and creative ideas and helping boost their self-confidence for facing the wider arena of the profession.
Each year the Institute confers a large number of awards and prizes to honour eminence as well as to nurture young talents. These awards have been instituted with endowments from leading industry houses, media enterprises and R & D organizations. The awardees indeed cover a wide spectrum - revered scientists, esteemed industrialists, respected academics, meritorious students and research scholars, etc.
The Institute maintains a close association with a number of fraternal professional bodies at home and abroad. Post-globalization, IIChE has embarked on various initiatives to become part of a wider network of inter-disciplinary forums and to be more visible in the international Chemical Engineering circuit.
As a dynamic body, IIChE wants to keep all its doors open, welcoming new members, new ideas and new visions in its journey forward.