Building Human Capacity in Chemical Engineering in Kazakhstan

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The collapse of the former Soviet Union and the transition of the new independent states to market economies has highlighted the need for a radical overhaul of the higher education system. This is particularly the case in engineering sciences. Due to national requirements, in regards to human development and economic growth, chemical engineering has been highlighted as a key discipline that must be modernised to provide qualified home-grown talent to run the highly technical facilities required to bring about the goals of energy security, increased life expectancy and sustainability. Several universities and organisations across Europe and the CIS are now collaborating to develop modern chemical engineering degree programmes at key institutions in Kazakhstan and Russia. However, in a move that will accelerate the establishment of chemical engineering in Kazakhstan, a new university, Nazarbayev University, has been founded in Astana, the nation’s capital city, that is aiming to be the leading university in Central Asia, offering degrees and conducting research to the highest international standards. The School of Engineering, partnered with University College London, will offer degrees in chemical engineering, as well as mechanical, civil and, eventually, electrical engineering.

The ultimate goal is for chemical engineering degree programmes in Kazakhstan to gain international recognition for the quality of the education and of the graduates they produce and for the discipline to take root in the region as a whole.

The author is on secondment from University College London, where he is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Centre for CO2 Technology. His email address at UCL is stefaan.simons@ucl.ac.uk.


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