The University‚Äôs Dr Daniel Belton (centre) receives his award The University’s Dr Daniel Belton (centre) receives his award

Dr Daniel Belton won the award for his key role in establishing a popular degree course in the subject at the University

CHEMICAL engineers are in high demand in a wide range of industries, and a lecturer who played a key role in setting up a popular degree course in the subject at the University of Huddersfield has received a succession of awards for his educational innovations.

Dr Daniel Belton has been named 2018’s North West Young Chemical Engineer of the Year by the regional members group of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE).

It follows his earlier award of the 2017 Hutchinson Medal – bestowed by the IChemE – which he shares with Grant Campbell, who is Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Huddersfield.

The two men earned the medal for a jointly-written article describing how they had set up the new degree programme.  Now, Dr Belton’s contribution had been recognised by the regional award, which he received at an IChemE event in Manchester.

Bachelor’s and Master’s courses in chemical engineering are now well-established at Huddersfield, with a second cohort of students shortly to graduate.

“We had chemical engineering as part of chemistry courses since the 50s.  But what we have now done is introduce a full chemical engineering programme, which is quite different from chemistry, although there is some overlap and synergy between the subjects,” explained Dr Belton.

Chemical engineering is becoming more popular as a subject, he said.

“That was one of the reasons to introduce it, but it was also because of our strong base.  We had good facilities and staff expertise because of teaching chemical engineering as part of the chemistry programmes.”

Graduates in chemical engineering can command impressive salaries in sectors that include food production, petro-chemicals and nuclear power, said Dr Belton, who had industrial experience himself before turning to lecturing and research in specialities that include computer-aided process engineering, graphene composite materials and chemical engineering pedagogy.

“Chemical engineers are very versatile, with a broad overview of things,” said Dr Belton.  “They have knowledge of chemistry, but also maths, physics and engineering, including subjects such as fluid mechanics, heat transfer and some mechanical aspects.”

In addition to setting up the degree courses, Dr Belton’s initiatives have included a successful YouTube channel dedicated to chemical engineering.