Chemical and Process Engineering - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Our mission is to educate chemical and process engineers in the physical, biological and chemical engineering sciences so they can operate and design complex systems through detailed analysis of their component parts, and develop innovative, economic, sustainable and safe outcomes for industry and society.

UC Graduate Attributes

  • Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their degree
  • Employable, innovative and enterprising
  • Biculturally competent and confident
  • Engaged with the community
  • Globally aware

Chemical and Process Engineering
Laboratory Development

The 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes have created a unique opportunity to generate a new partnership, one that will bring together alumni, industry and the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering in a project that will reinvigorate the department's practical teaching facilities. These new laboratory facilities will be in the new building that replaces the department's Denham and Siemon buildings and reflect the department's goals and the University of Canterbury's graduate attributes.

A unique collaboration

The Chemical and Process Engineering Laboratory development is a major initiative aimed at revitalising the department's undergraduate laboratory facilities. These new facilities will help us enhance what is already a strong education programme.

The Government has recognised the importance of engineering at the University of Canterbury and has committed to a substantial investment in the College of Engineering. This investment includes a new building for the Chemical and Process Engineering Department, with construction set to commence in December 2014 with completion in February 2016.

The Chemical & Process Engineering Department strives to provide students with the highest quality education, continually improving to meet the demands of the profession. A new building provides a perfect opportunity to improve the laboratory teaching environment to complement the new building, to ensure we produce the best chemical engineers possible. The goal is to create an engaging, fit-for-purpose laboratory space with modern teaching equipment and pedagogy.

Chemical engineers can play a special role in this project. By investing in this initiative, you can help shape the next generation of successful graduates.

Investing in the future

This is a strategic opportunity that will benefit not only the students, the department and the University, but also our partners and, ultimately, industry. This project provides a platform to develop new or grow existing relationships, and realise mutual benefits for all stakeholders.

The students The direct benefactors of this development are undergraduate students.

  • Students will be exposed to the latest and most industrially relevant technology;
  • Improved reliability increases the quality learning time for students;
  • Introduction, exposure and potential interaction with industrial partners;
  • Engaging environment providing stimulating challenges and real world context.


The potential benefits for our partners are diverse. What and how these benefits are realised depend on the values of the organisation. However some possibilities are:

  • Sustainable value creation from producing more, well-trained engineers for your industry;
  • Students are exposed to your company’s technologies or brand through the naming of relevant equipment or a room;
  • Gain access to the facilities for industry training and professional development opportunities that might otherwise require expensive internal infrastructure;
  • Demonstrate your company’s:
    • commitment to education.
    • position on social responsibility, community involvement and social investment.
  • Improve exposure of your business in Canterbury, a rapidly expanding market;
  • Tax incentives to lower the tax burden for your organisation;
  • Future collaborations with academic staff to develop innovative solutions and provide advice in times of need.

The University/ Department

  • A shared industry/university investment will enable this project to happen in full;
  • New equipment will reduce the ongoing maintenance costs and reduce complexity;
  • Modern equipment will attract high calibre students;
  • Improved relationships with industry will enhance teaching, research and professional development opportunities.

An exciting opportunity

New space

The University of Canterbury will spend $1.1 billion over 10 years transforming the Ilam campus. As part of this development, the Government is investing up to $260 million in the future of science and technology at the University of Canterbury. It will be used to support new buildings for the Colleges of Science and Engineering, with $145 million invested in the College of Engineering. This will create a cuttingedge research and teaching environment. $145 million will be invested in the College of Engineering, creating a cutting edge research and teaching environment.

The College of Engineering's new facilities will include a redeveloped core for an enhanced learning environment for students. It will also include refurbished civil and natural resources, mechanical, and electrical and electronics laboratory wings. The Chemical and Process Engineering Department's new building will replace the Siemon and Denham buildings.

The department has a strong history of practical teaching and the new building offers an exciting opportunity for the department to reinvigorate its undergraduate teaching laboratories.

New Vision

Our existing labs have grown organically over a number of years. Some experiments are up to 30 years old. The new building, with purpose-built space, provides an opportunity to consider how we can redevelop the course and update these aging experiments to build on our current strengths.

The department has committed significant resources to this project. A design engineer and an academic have scoped a variety of options for new labs and, with the help of the academic team, identified an exciting new vision for the future labs.

The new labs will be:

  • Closely integrated with design courses, providing varying and interesting contexts for experiments.
  • Pilot-scale operations common to industry that can be conceptually linked together in different ways.
  • A virtual process simulated by students in the design course. Experiments will inform the simulations giving students a physical understanding of the simulations and system complexity.
  • A variety of different virtual processes.
  • Based on modern technology, while still focusing on classic unit operation theory.
  • Flexible:
    • Encourage curiosity and self-led learning;
    • Less complexity through duplicate experiments and built-in redundancy;
    • The professional years will use the same equipment, improving the focus on fundamentals (and better space usage).
  • Scalable for potential expansion of student numbers.


A steering group has been formed to support strategic thinking for this project and to assist with appropriate contacts with industry and alumni.

The group are primarily senior alumni from a range of different industries in New Zealand and includes a representative from the UC Foundation and the current Head of Department.

Members include:

  • Harvey Weake Senior Vice President, Global Manufacturing, Methanex
  • Blake Fieldes Manager, Resources and Manufacturing, Aurecon New Zealand Ltd
  • George Hooper Senior Consultant, Worley Parsons New Zealand
  • Brian Earl Former Head of Department
  • Kevin Marshall Consultant and company director for primary industries, former Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute
  • Graeme Robertson Former Chief Executive Officer of Lincoln Ventures and Cawthron Institute
  • Tim Dobbie Former Senior Design Engineer for SKM
  • Jo Dowling Director, Alumni and Development, UC Foundation, University of Canterbury
  • Peter Gostomski Head of Department

You can help

Contribute to the future of Chemical and Process Engineering

The University of Canterbury Foundation has established the CAPEFUND and is inviting individuals and organisations to contribute.

Insurance payouts and government support ($260m) are allowing us to invest significantly in science and engineering. With your support, that investment can be optimised by helping us provide world-class equipment and instrumentation to “fit-out” our new labs.

Alumni and friends of the University of Canterbury have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to the future of chemical and process engineering, impacting generations of students / graduates in New Zealand.

All gifts are tax deductible

There are opportunities to recognise support through naming of the teaching space and equipment.

The names of all supporters of this exciting project will be displayed in a visible location within the new laboratory.


Please contact:
Jo Dowling
University of Canterbury Foundation
Phone +64 3 364 2048

Donations can be made by:

  1. Online - This provides the option to set up a reoccurring gift.
  2. Phone - Development Office 03 364 2921
  3. Direct bank transfer - UCF Bank account: # 02 0874 0015430 00
  4. Cheque - University of Canterbury Foundation Private Bag 4800 Christchurch 8140 Memo: Capefund
  • Department of Chemical
    and Process Engineering

    University of Canterbury
    Private Bag 4800 
    New Zealand
  • Phone: + 64 3 364 2543
    Fax: + 64 3 364 2063
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