2021 AIChE Annual Meeting Preview

This November, chemical engineering researchers, educators, and innovators worldwide will once again gather in person when AIChE conducts its 2021 Annual Meeting in Boston, MA. A virtual version of the Annual Meeting will be available to all meeting registrants, including those who cannot travel to Boston.

In-person sessions at the Annual Meeting — along with major lectures, keynotes, panels, exhibits, and poster sessions — will be recorded and made available for on-demand viewing on the virtual platform for all attendees the following week.

All registrants will have access to both the in-person and online meeting formats, and online viewers will enjoy a range of live virtual sessions, as well as on-demand viewing of in-person sessions at any time during the online meeting. Both the in-person and virtual meetings will provide unopposed time blocks devoted to networking on a variety of informative and enjoyable topics.


Whether you prefer to attend in person or virtually, if you’re not yet registered, there’s still time to join us: Register here.

Be sure to keep this main link handy for all things AIChE Annual: www.aiche.org/annual

Getting around the Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting — along with the associated Annual Student Conference — will be held at Boston’s John B. Hynes Convention Center, the Sheraton Boston, and the Marriott Boston Copley Place, Nov. 7–11, with the virtual meeting taking place online from Nov. 15–19. Chemical engineering undergraduates will convene in person from Nov. 5–8, and online from Nov. 13–14.

Be sure to consult our events calendar to locate each event you plan to attend. Also helpful is our onsite info guide which includes info on transportation, onsite registration hours, and much more.

Topical conferences

One new topical conference will explore material interfaces that address energy needs, with sessions addressing topics in solar energy, hydrogen storage, electro- and photocatalysis, separations, and more.

Another new conference examines innovations in process engineering, and highlights efficient and sustainable design, commercialization, and the use of processes and products.

Other new and updated topical conferences expand upon the challenges surrounding waste plastics, workplace skills for chemical engineers, and intersectionality and inclusivity in the workforce.

See the full list of topical conferences.

Featured lectures, panels, and workshops

Emphasizing the meeting’s theme, while also advancing the objectives of AIChE’s Institute for Learning and Innovation, this year’s Annual Meeting program features panels that address the Academia-Industry Partnership in 21st Century Education. The first of these sessions (Nov. 8) will provide an update on the 2015 National Science Foundation survey on industry and academia alignment, and an outlook on how to better prepare future chemical engineers for the workforce. Presenters will include Yang Luo, Senior R&D Director for Process Technology at Honeywell Advanced Materials, and Phillip Westmoreland, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State Univ.

A second panel (Nov. 9) will explore the ways that industry and academia can best cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. Among the speakers at this session will be Anna Protopapas, President and CEO of Mersana Therapeutics.

The John M. Prausnitz AIChE Institute Lecture will take place on Nov. 10. The 73rd Institute Lecture will be delivered by Arup K. Chakraborty, Institute Professor and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Physics, and Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Chakraborty will discuss the challenges faced in developing vaccines that are effective against rapidly mutating viruses, and how approaches from engineering and the life sciences are addressing this challenge.

SBE’s James E. Bailey Award Lecture on Nov. 9 will be presented by James J. Collins, the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his lecture, “Synthetic Biology: Life Redesigned,” Collins will present an overview of synthetic biology applications in biotechnology and medicine.

On Nov. 9, the 2021 Daniel I. C. Wang Award Lecture will be delivered by William E. Bentley, the Robert E. Fischell Distinguished Chair of Engineering and the Inaugural Director of the Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices at the Univ. of Maryland. 

The Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering Lecture on Nov. 9, David V. Schaffer, the Hubbard Howe Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Univ. of California, Berkeley. Schaffer’s lecture will describe the directed evolution of new adeno-associated viral vectors for clinical gene therapy.

The William R. Schowalter Lecture on Nov. 10 focuses on alternates from year to year between topics in fluid mechanics, typically delivered by an academician, and topics of general interest to the profession, delivered by a speaker from industry. This year’s lecture will be given by Eric S. G. Shaqfeh, the Lester Levi Carter Professor of Engineering at Stanford Univ., who will discuss particle suspensions in elastic fluids.

For the first time at the Annual Meeting (Nov. 8), another Foundation-endowed event will honor the recipient of the Langer Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Excellence and will feature remarks from Robert S. Langer himself. The 2021 prize recipient and lecturer will be announced online.

See the full listing of featured lectures and panels.

AIChE Celebrates the 2020 and 2021 Hoover Medalists

On Nov. 8, AIChE and the chemical engineering community will laud two chemical-engineering recipients of the Hoover Medal, an interdisciplinary prize recognizing an engineer whose endeavors have advanced the well-being of humankind.

The 2020 Hoover medalist is William S. Hammack, the Lycan Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For more than 20 years, Hammack’s public radio and internet appearances as the “Engineer Guy” have explained fundamental science and its application through engineering to a vast audience. 

The 2021 Hoover Medalist is Cato T. Laurencin, University Professor, Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and CEO of the Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at the Univ. of Connecticut. Laurencin is being recognized for mentoring a generation of underrepresented engineers and for his work at the policy level to foster justice, equity, fairness, and diversity. 

As the world navigates the evolving circumstances related to the pandemic, safety remains AIChE’s chief concern for in-person meeting attendees. AIChE is working with the Boston venues to adhere to all local and national directives for social distancing and sanitizing protocols.

See the full listing of featured lectures and panels.


The Annual Meeting exhibit, coffee breaks, and poster receptions will be located in Exhibit Hall C. Learn more.

Technical program

You can find a listing of all technical programming here

Join the conversation on social media

Be sure to join ChEnected on Twitter @ChEnected, Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AIChE/ and on Instagram @ChEnected.

Hashtag: #AIChEAnnual