19 Aug 2015
Hikaru Graeme Joliffe was awarded a Richardson Travel Bursary in 2015. Here, he describes how his attendance at PSE2015 and ESCAPE25 (both held between 31 May - 4 June in Copenhagen) immeasurably contributed to his growth as a doctoral researcher and expanded his career opportunities.
‘This report summarises my experience attending and presenting at the 12th Process Systems Engineering (PSE2015) and 25th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering (ESCAPE25) Joint International Conference, held between 31 May and 4 June in Copenhagen, Denmark. This prestigious event brought together two established conference series, PSE (every three years) and ESCAPE (annual), and featured an extensive schedule with many attendees from both academia and industry. There were four plenary lectures, 43 keynote presentations, 191 oral presentations and 312 poster presentations; there were over 50 countries represented. Invited senior speakers gave their expert opinions on key topics, and there were many new challenges and research topics discussed. My attendance was funded by a Richardson Travel Bursary, awarded by SCI.
‘Departing Edinburgh on Saturday 30 May, I landed in Copenhagen and took a taxi to the hotel. I had a working dinner with my supervisor, Dr Dimitrios I Gerogiorgis, who was co-author for my conference paper, to discuss the days ahead. Sunday 31 May was the opening of conference registration, which I did in the afternoon. I spent several hours reviewing the welcome pack and conference schedule, planning which sessions I would attend on each conference day. In the evening there was a welcome reception held at the venue, where I met several of my supervisor’s current and former colleagues, peers and mentors. I also met some fellow doctoral researchers with whom I would become well acquainted over the coming days.
‘Monday 1 June was the first full conference day, which I began early, attending the opening session and subsequent plenary lecture ‘Recent advances in mathematical programming techniques for the optimisation of process systems under uncertainty’ by Professor Ignacio E Grossmann. Following this excellent talk, I attended an oral highlights session for select posters, before moving to sessions on Enterprise-Wide Management, Biorefineries and Fuels, and the Elsevier-sponsored poster session (of which there would be three over the course of the four conference days). Of particular interest in the afternoon was the first keynote session on Pharma chaired by Professor Marianthi Lerapetritou. Conference guests were invited to a reception at Copenhagen Town Hall at the end of the day; this was a further great opportunity to network with fellow attendees.
‘Tuesday 2 June also began early: I gave my 20-minute presentation, ‘Plantwide design and economic evaluation of two Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (CPM) cases: Ibuprofen and Artemisinin’, in the morning parallel session ‘Pharmaceutical Systems Engineering’. It was well received, with questions from Dr Brahim Benyahia and Dr Hirokazu Sugiyama, both with whom I was able to elaborate on my answers after the session. In the afternoon I attended two keynote sessions, the plenary lecture ‘A multidisciplinary hierarchical framework for the design of consumer centered chemical products’ by Professor Ka M Ng, and a second poster session. I was invited to an after-hours event hosted by Novo Nordisk in the evening, along with fellow doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, which was an enjoyable opportunity to learn more about the company and meet employees working in many departments. I exchanged contact details with a Principal Scientist at Novo Nordisk, who was also one of the keynote speakers.
‘Wednesday 3 June began again first thing in the morning with a session on Mathematical Programming. Other sessions I attended included Planning and Scheduling, Sustainability, and the plenary lecture ‘Multi-level design of process systems for efficient chemicals production and energy conversion’ by Professor Kai Sundmacher. A delightful conference dinner was organised for all attendees in the evening at Wallman’s Show in Copenhagen city centre.
‘Thursday 4 June was relaxed, and there was less scheduled than previous days. I attended sessions on Mathematical Programming, Process Intensification, and the final plenary lecture from Professor Gintaras V Reklaitis on ‘Highlights and New Directions for PSE’. The closing session summarised the conference and introduced the next two events in each conference series. Awards were presented and Professor Grossmann received the inaugural Roger Sargent Medal.
‘I departed Copenhagen the following day, on Friday 5 June. PSE2015/ESCAPE25 reaffirmed the importance and vibrancy of the Process Systems Engineering field of research. In addition to new insights into established areas such as oil and gas there was exciting new research, particularly in biotechnology and pharmaceutical technologies. I gained valuable experience, knowledge and connections from this event, which was my first international academic conference. It immeasurably contributed to my growth as a doctoral researcher and expanded my career opportunities.
I would like to thank SCI for awarding me a generous Richardson Travel Bursary to attend this conference.’
Hikaru Graeme Jolliffe, MEng, Doctoral Researcher
Institute for Materials and Processes, University of Edinburgh