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ChemEs can do it

CWRU President Eric Kaler leads a call for more national support for chemical engineering.

Case Western Reserve University, Eric Kaler, PhD

Not only is he president of Case Western Reserve University, Eric Kaler, PhD, is an accomplished chemical engineer. That background shines through in a new report calling for deeper federal investment in chemical engineering to solve society’s challenges. Kaler chaired the committee that wrote New Directions for Chemical Engineering, a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine that outlines an ambitious future for the field. The study argues that fresh support for chemical engineering is critical to maintaining U.S. leadership and meeting coming challenges — including generating medical advances and smoothing the transition to renewable energy. 

Released Feb. 9, the report argues that chemical transformations made possible many of society’s advances, like synthetic fertilizers that enabled the Green Revolution, and that chemical engineers are ready to create new marvels. 

“Chemical engineering is often at the heart of solutions to many of the problems we face, but for our field to stay in a position of global leadership and continue our pace of innovation, we need to reaffirm strong investment in this field,” Kaler said in a statement. 

A former professor of chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota, Kaler is a tenured professor in 

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Case School of Engineering and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. 

He said the report points to opportunities to be seized. Pressing issues chemical engineers can address include: 

Decarbonizing the U.S economy 

Creating a cleaner, healthier environment 

Advancing drug discovery 

Making healthcare cheaper and more equitable 

Advancing the “circular economy” where much is repurposed and reused 

Find the study at the National Academies website, 

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