UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Research excellence framework

On 18 December the results of the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) were announced after over 12 months scrutiny of institutional submissions. In national league tables UCL was ranked first*

Biochemical Engineering Research Quality and Impact Highlighted in REF 2014 Outcome

*UCL was ranked first for ‘research strength’ and first for research impact.

This success was reflected in Biochemical Engineering which was part of the UCL submission to Unit of Assessment 12 (UoA12) together with colleagues in Chemical Engineering and the Fluids and Marine Engineering groups of Mechanical Engineering. In terms of the overall ‘research strength’ rating, the sum of 4* (Excellent) and 3* (Very Good) activity, UCL scored 90% second only to the University of Cambridge. In terms of pure research quality 85% of our research publications were rated 4* (‘world leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’) with nearly one quarter in the 4* category.

The Department has always placed significance on the translation of its research into practical outcomes of benefit to society. This was highlighted by the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2013 and is reinforced in the REF2014 results for research impact. Biochemical Engineering contributed half of the impact case studies to the UoA12 submission covering work on the rapid design of biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes, the use of biocatalysis in the sustainable synthesis of chemicals and pharmaceuticals and the creation of software tools to help companies make decisions on biomanufacturing operations. 100% of the UCL UoA 12 impact case studies were rated either 4* or 3*, higher than at comparable institutions such as the University of Cambridge and Imperial College.

These outcomes reflect the tremendous efforts of all departmental staff, academic, technical and administrative, over the last five years and provide a solid basis on which to base future research.

Impact Case Studies

Speeding up drug manufacture

Pharmaceutical companies are using a UCL technology to speed up the time taken to manufacture new drugs, helping them make huge savings. Ultra-scale down technology identifies critical points in a manufacturing process and reproduces them using just small quantities of materials, to predict full-scale manufacturing performance quickly and affordably.  Full study

Contact: Professor Mike Hoare: m.hoare@ucl.ac.uk  and Dr Andrea Rayat: andrea.rayat@ucl.ac.uk

Greening the pharmaceutical industry

A biocatalysis engineering research programme at UCL has created technologies critically needed by the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The programme also established a range of green technologies for the rapid design of more environmentally friendly industrial biocatalytic processes. Full study

Contact: Professor John Ward: j.ward@ucl.ac.uk

Better decision-making in drug manufacture

Pharmaceutical companies are using tools developed at UCL to improve their decision-making during drug development, helping them save time and money by streamlining their processes. The systematic methods allow companies to better understand how best to implement innovative manufacturing strategies and ultimately deliver more affordable medicines to patients.  Full study

Contact: Professor Suzy Farid: s.farid@ucl.ac.uk