About Chemical and Biological Engineering

Chemical and Biological Engineering is a thriving section within the School of Chemical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering, which is rated top nationally for the quality of its research environment (REF 2021).

CBE students in the Pilot Plant

Who we are

We're a major contributor to tackling the key challenges of this century - climate change, energy poverty, affordable medicines, sustainable agriculture and water use, safety and green manufacturing. Our rich environment for learning prepares our students to be 21st century scientists and engineers, with disciplines spanning

  • particle science and technology/nanotechnology
  • new energy technologies
  • the environment and applications of post-genomics bioscience for biotechnology
  • bioprocessing applications.

Facts and figures

In 2021 we achieved

  • £8 million new research grant income 
  • 425 undergraduates students
  • 172 postgraduate taught students
  • 164 PhD students 
  • 24 unique researcher funders 
  • 181 publications 
  • 47 grants
  • Our innovative, PLA driven undergraduate curriculum has been rolled out in 2020/21, the curriculum has received national attention.

Our work with industry

We've key relationships with major international companies involved with food, fuels, medicines, plastics, energy and high-technology industries.  Some of these include

  • Siemens
  • Petronas
  • Pfizer
  • Nestle
  • Lonza
  • Astrazeneca
  • Syngenta
  • Unilever

We have a dedicated Industrial Advisory Board which meets annually and discusses issues relating to the curriculum, employment and research collaborations. The industrial members are extremely supportive of the department and its students. They are enthusiastic about the high quality of graduates that we produce, and particularly interested in the industrial projects carried out by students on our courses.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We believe that diversity in all its forms delivers greater impact in our research and teaching and enhances the experience of our students.

Our main focus is to increase the proportion of female engineers. We work incredibly hard for Athena Swan status and have achieved silver and we continue to work towards ensuring female engineers have the maximum opportunity to advance in their career.

Our commitment

Our facilities

Our facilities are world-class. The Diamond Building hosts some of our cutting edge laboratories with industrial scale equipment including the Analytics Lab, Thermodynamics Lab and the Pilot Plant.

The Pilot Plant is the cornerstone to educate our students and it features a continuous powder processing plant – the first of its kind in any UK University. 


We're committed to promoting and practicing environmentally-friendly working and sustainability. The department currently holds two Green Impact gold awards, and a bonus gold award for its laboratories.

A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.