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Our trustees

Offering friendly support all chemical engineers and their dependents

Stephen Richardson

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Stephen Richardson is Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London. He was educated at Imperial and then, after working as a Research Assistant at Cambridge, he was appointed as a Lecturer back at Imperial in 1978 and promoted successively to Senior Lecturer, Reader and finally to Professor in 1994. His principal research interest is safety, specifically the depressurisation of vessels and pipelines, particularly those associated with oil and gas production, and development of the computer program BLOWDOWN, which has since been used in the design of well over 300 installations. In 1996, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy Engineering and, in 2015, he was awarded a CBE for services to chemical engineering education and safety. He was President of IChemE between 2019 and 2021.

Stephen Richardson

Professor Dame Julia Higgins

Julia Higgins is a Senior Research Investigator (Emeritus Professor) in the Department of Chemical Engineering in Imperial College, London where she has worked for the last 40 years. She is a fellow of the Royal Society and of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and has been involved in Diversity matters at both Academies.

She was the Foreign Secretary of the Royal society from 2001 to 2006, and Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council from 2002 to 2007.

She was the founding Chair of the Athena Project from 1998 to 2003, and continues to support the careers of women in academic science as Patron of the Athena Swan awards.

She is a past President of the IChemE and is currently President–elect of the Institute of Physics.

Professor Dame Julia Higgins

Geoff Maitland FREng CEng CSci FIChemE

Geoff Maitland is Professor of Energy Engineering at Imperial College London, with a career that has straddled industry and academia. He studied Chemistry at Oxford University where he also obtained his doctorate in Physical Chemistry. After a period as an ICI Research Fellow at Bristol University, he was appointed to a lectureship in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College in 1974. He spent a secondment with ICI Plastics Division from 1979-81 and became a senior lecturer in 1983.

In 1986 Geoff moved to the oil and gas industry with Schlumberger, where he led research in oilfield fluids engineering for well construction, reservoir stimulation and production enhancement. He held a number of senior technical and research management positions in Cambridge and Paris, most recently as a Research Director. He rejoined Imperial College in September 2005 as Professor of Energy Engineering and his current research covers clean and efficient fossil fuel production with particular emphasis on carbon dioxide mitigation processes, recovery of non-conventional hydrocarbons including methane hydrate production and energy-related reactor engineering. He was the Founding Director of the Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research Centre at Imperial College.

Geoff is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Energy Institute. In 2006 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He was awarded the Hutchison Medal by the Institution of Chemical Engineers in 1998 and served as President of the British Society of Rheology from 2002-2005. He was awarded the IChemE Chemical Engineering Envoy Award for 2010 for his media work explaining the engineering issues involved in the Gulf of Mexico oil-spill. In 2011 he chaired the independent review of the UK Offshore Oil and Gas Regulatory Regime (‘The Maitland Report’) and in 2012 received the Rideal Lecture Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Geoff served as IChemE President in 2014-2015

Geoff Maitland

Jonathan Seville

Jonathan Seville is Professor of Formulation Engineering at the University of Birmingham, where he is also Academic Director of the Collaborative Teaching Laboratory. He is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow and Past President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, for which he chairs its Education and Skills Committee, and a member of the Board of the Engineering Council, chairing its Registration Standards Committee.

Previous academic positions include Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Surrey, Dean of Engineering at the University of Warwick, and Head of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, where he established the UK’s first research centre in Formulation Engineering and co-founded the Positron Imaging Centre, which has pioneered the use of positron-emitting radioactive tracers in engineering studies. Throughout his career, Jonathan has championed the application of chemical engineering to the design and manufacture of products for the pharmaceutical, home care and fast-moving consumer goods industries, working with the UK Research Councils, Unilever Research, Procter & Gamble, Rhône-Poulenc, Astra Zeneca, BP, Weetabix, United Biscuits, Huntsman Tioxide, Merck Sharp and Dohme, GSK, Pfizer, Siemens and GEA Pharma Systems. He is also active in energy- and environment-related projects, including plastics recycling and the circular economy, and co-founded the successful Swindon-based spin-out company Recycling Technologies.

Jonathan Seville


Mr Jim McGillivray
Dame Julia Higgins
Mr Geoff Maitland
Dr Trish Melton
Professor Jonathan Seville

Charity commission register

The Chemical Engineers Benevolent Fund is a registered Charity in England and Wales 221601.
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