Professor Joan Cordiner

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Head of Department

Professor of Process Engineering

Professor Joan Cordiner smiling as she stands in the Engineering Heartspace
Profile picture of Professor Joan Cordiner smiling as she stands in the Engineering Heartspace

Full contact details

Professor Joan Cordiner
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

I joined the department in 2020 as a Professor of engineering and external engagement before taking on the Head of Department role for the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2021. Prior to that, I had a distinguished career at Syngenta which spanned several global and senior management positions. My career has given me a wealth of experience in leadership, Active Ingredient process design, complex process modelling, physical property prediction, Formulation Engineering, Process Safety leadership, Global Business Risk management and building relationships between academia and industry. 

In our group we look to drive continual improvement in both process efficiency and process safety by employing cutting edge modelling technologies to gain an in-depth understanding of the physical processes and properties at play in the real world. 

As Industry evolves, our approach to tackling engineering problems must evolve too. New and innovative solutions are required to counter the multitude of new problems arising as a result of the digital era. Problems being tackled by this group include:

  • Physical property prediction
  • Machine Learning-based predictive maintenance
  • Process resilience models for early-stage design
  • Scale-up robustness and sustainability
  • Automated Hazop
  • Modelling  and mRNA production
  • Scale up of novel processes for energy storage
  • Hydrogen Safety for new and emerging processes

We're passionate about driving real change and strive to stay on the cutting edge by working on the interface between academia and industry.

External to the university, I am a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, IChemE, AIChE, and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. I am a Chartered Engineer and enjoy serving the profession in a range of different committees and panels including the Royal Academy Policy committee, the National Engineering Policy Centre (NEPC), the Audit and Risk committee, previously the membership and several grant and award committees.

Previously, I have taken on advisory positions including: the Chairman of CAPEC Advisory Group (DTU Denmark), Chairman of FSSG IChemE, Directors of Britest, SIS, WBT and Industry Representative for the UK Distillation and Absorption ECHMA. 

Research interests

My research interests focuses on using modelling :

Selection and design of Processes:

  • Prediction and modelling of complex physical properties
  • Particle processes including fluidization and crystallization
  • Complex separation scheme design and optimising
  • Visualization of systems that aid design and selection
  • Formulation / Product design
    • Formulant and Solvent selection,
    • Polymer encapsulation

Scale up , robustness and  sustainability built into design practices:

Scale up and robustness of processes and integrating these into the initial design methodologies. 

  • Particles Processing and scale up
  • Sustainability
  • Resilience to natural disasters (Hurricane, Flood, Pandemic)
  • Scale up for new types of processes
  • CPD- Scale up for academics and process design

Manufacturing optmisation and Process Safety:

Design, Process Safety, Operating and maintenance practice optimization

  • Optimizing cleaning in pharmaceuticals and agrochemical processes
  • Troubleshooting, training and guidance on plant from digital tools
  • Optimising technician work and routes in chemical plants
  • Process safety- digital tools and technician integration to reduce accidents

Employability, development and teaching :

Embedding employability into the undergraduate and post graduate curricula


Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers

  • Tao M, Ejeh JO, Milton RA, Cordiner J & Brown SF (2023) Multiple-output Gaussian Process based Global Sensitivity Analysis for the cost-performance of electric vehicle in the United Kingdom (pp 1433-1438) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Cordiner JL (2004) Challenges for the PSE community in formulations. Computers & Chemical Engineering, Vol. 29(1) (pp 83-92) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Cordiner J, Gani R, Christensen S, Vehling H & Bell G (2003) Generation and use of local models for the prediction of product behaviour and formulation design. Aiche Symposium Series, 11 November 2003. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Yeardley A, Ejeh J, Brown S & Cordiner J () Predictive Maintenance in the Digital Era. Computer Aided Chemical Engineering RIS download Bibtex download
  • Yeardley A, Allen L, Ejeh J, Brown S & Cordiner J () Predictive Maintenance in the Digital Era. Computer Aided Chemical Engineering RIS download Bibtex download
  • Cordiner J & Brown S () Towards Automated HAZOPs. Proceedings of the 31st European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering RIS download Bibtex download



Grants as an Industrial Collaborator 


  • 20/12/2021  173553  Digitised, small-scale and high-throughput process for distributed RNA production for therapy and pandemic preparedness WELLCOME LEAP INC

  • 20/05/2022 172093 Sustainable microwave manufacturing ENGINEERING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCE RESEARCH COUNCIL (EPSRC)


  • EP/R008027/1 From Kinetic Theory to Hydrodynamics: re-imagining two fluid models of particle laden flows 
  • EP/N034066/1 A new Multi-Scale Paradigm for Particulate Flow- both with Prof R Ocone 
  • European 6th Framework grants & Danish Grants with CAPEC consortia and Prof R Gani and Prof SB Jørgensen  
  • EPSRC Grant with Prof CS Adjiman, Prof A Galindo, Prof G Jackson SAFT approach for surfactants  
  • EPSRC Grant with Prof CS Adjiman Solvent selection to improve reaction rates 2002-2005 
  • GR/T17595/01 Demonstration of the commercial potential of advanced molecular thermodynamics software Prof CS Adjiman, Prof C Pantelides, Prof G Jackson Prof A Galindo 
  • GR/L63020/01 Batch Route Innovation Technology Evaluation and Selection Techniques (BRITEST) also DTI Funding 
  • Case Award with Prof CS Adjiman as a new academic  
  • EPSRC Changing the Culture: To report for the EPSRC on the Strategy and Structure of Chemical Engineering Research in the USA July 1999 C Axon, Prof Howell, JL Cordiner et al. 
Professional activities and memberships

Memberships and Honorary Positions 

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 2020 
  • Honorary Professor School of Science and Engineering Heriot Watt University 2019. 
  • Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering 2017.  
  • Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineers 2002, Member 1994, Chartered Engineer 1994.  
  • Senior Member of American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2004.  
  • Visiting Senior Lecturer UMIST (Now University of Manchester) 1998-2001. 

Major Academic and Advisory Activities 

2019-2020 Royal Academy of Engineering Membership Panel- Chemical and Biological Engineering 

2019-          AIChE Policy Committee. 

2017-          Industrial Advisory Board of Chemical Engineering at Heriot Watt University. 

2015-          Collaborative Research with Prof R Ocone Heriot Watt University in Fluidization Modelling. 

2002-2019 Visiting Lectures, Seminars and Keynote Presentations at Major Conferences. 

2004-2008 Syngenta Liaison and recruitment lead for UVa, NC State, Virginia Tech and Auburn.  

2002-2004 Chairman Advisory Board CAPEC Research Consortium Danish Technical University (DTU). 

2000-2004 Board Member and technical lead for Britest Ltd (academic, industrial consortium). 

2002-2003 External Examiner for PhD thesis defense M Eden DTU (Now Chair of Auburn University). 

2002-2004 UK Industrial Rep on EFCE Distillation, Absorption and Extraction Working Party

2001-2004 Chairman of Fluid Separation Processes Group of IChemE. 

2003-2008 High Shear Mixing Consortia University of Maryland. 

2001-2003 Accreditation Committee of IChemE

1999-2002 Advisory Board Chemical Engineering Bath University. 

1998-2004 and 2016-2018 PSE Consortium Member Imperial College. 

1998-2002 Board Member CAPEC Research Consortium at DTU. 

1997-2004 Co Supervisor of PhD Students at Imperial College and Danish Technical University DTU. 

1992-2003 Non-executive Director/Trustee of two international charities (WBT/SIL in UK). 

1990-1998 Consortia Distillation Design Prof M Malone & Prof M Doherty UMass at Amhurst & UCSB. 

1991-1999 ICI/ Zeneca Industry Liaison and recruitment lead with Heriot Watt & Edinburgh Universities 

External activities

Invited Seminars 

  • Heriot Watt UniversityGlobal Priorities and Chemical Engineering Answers2017 
  • University of Virginia -Use of predictive methods in the early evaluation of Process Options. 2008 
  • Imperial College -Challenges in Formulations. 2003 
  • CAPEC Consortia DTU - Physical Property, phase equilibria prediction for VLLE and SLE and gaps. 2002 
  • Edinburgh University- 1999 

External Reports 

  • Changing the Culture: A report to the EPSRC on the Strategy and Structure of Chemical Engineering Research in the USA July 1999 C Axon, Prof Howell, JL Cordiner et al 
  • CAPE-21 Computer Aided Process Engineering Tools & Techniques for the 21st Century Discussion Paper Properties of Materials and Mixtures Joan Cordiner et al. 

External Courses and Conference Organization/Chairing 

  • 7th World Congress of Chemical Engineering Technical panel & international scientific committee 
  • AICHE National Fall Meetings chairing various sessions.  
  • PSE 2004 International Scientific committee 
  • Distillation and Absorption 2006 Technical panel & international scientific committee  
  • A one-day training course organized by the Fluid Separation Processes Subject Group Distillation Training Course UMIST, Manchester 17 September 2002- Chairman of organizing Committee 
  • Escape 11 Kolding Denmark May 2001- Session Chair and Keynote speaker 
  • FSPG Symposium: Sustainable Process Selection 5th April 2000 University College London – Chairman and organizer 
  • FSPG Symposium on Batch, extractive and reactive distillation Nov 1996, Huddersfield- Chairman and Organizer 
  • Poster competition judging PSE 2004, D&A 2006, Escape 11, Process Systems Engineering 2019 - Puerto Vallarta, and various consortia meetings.