dynamics, control and operational optimization;
safety and operability of chemical plants; and
computational tools and information technology.
The United States is expected to maintain in the future its current position at the “Forefront” or “Among World Leaders” in all subareas of chemical engineering research. It is expected to expand and extend its current position in the following subareas:
biocatalysis and protein engineering;
cellular and metabolic engineering;
systems, computational and synthetic biology;
fossil energy extraction and processing;
However, the strong U.S. position in transport processes; separations; heterogeneous catalysis; kinetics and reaction engineering; electrochemical processes; molecular and interfacial science and engineering; inorganic and ceramic materials; process development and design; and dynamics, control, and operational optimization has been weakened. Leadership in these core areas is now shared with Europe and in specific instances with Japan. Japan and other Asian countries are also particularly competitive in the materialsoriented research, e.g., polymers, inorganic and ceramic materials, biomaterials, and nanostructured materials. In addition, Europe is very competitive in the biorelated subareas of research while Japan is particularly strong in bioprocess engineering.
The Panel views the current research trends as healthy. At the same time, the group is concerned about the progressive erosion of U.S. positions in the core areas, because it is the strength in fundamentals that has enabled generations of chemical engineers to create new and highly competitive technologies for processes and products.
A strong manufacturing base, a strong culture and system of innovation, and the excellence and flexibility of the education and research enterprise have been and still are the major determinants of U.S. leadership in chemical engineering.
The keys to U.S. leadership in chemical engineering research have been the strength and global presence of the U.S. chemical, pharmaceutical, electronic, petroleum, biotechnology, and biomedical companies, the reach of the diverse U.S. economy, and the entrepreneurial ability of its