Colin Webb, CEng, CSci, FIChemE, FIAFoST


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Personal profile


Colin is Professor of Chemical Engineering in the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, having been Head of School from 2005 to 2007. Prior to being Head of School, he was Associate Dean in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences from the commencement of the University in 2004. Before this he was Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at UMIST, from 2000 to 2004. In addition, he has been Director of the Satake Centre for Grain Process Engineering (SCGPE) since its inception in 1994. Prior to 1994 he had been a Senior Lecturer at UMIST, having first joined as a Research Associate in 1979.

Colin graduated in Chemical Engineering from Aston University with a 1st class honours degree and PhD and is a Chartered Scientist as well as a Chartered Engineer. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and a Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology (IAFoST).

Since May 2012, Colin has been a Member of Council of IChemE, having been Vice-President (Qualifications) from 2012 - 2015 and Chair of the Education and Accreditation Forum (formerly Accreditation Committee) from 2005 – 2012. He has been a Reviewer or Advisor at many UK and international universities including, from 2007 – 2010, Scientific Advisor to Kobe University in Japan. He is currently External Examiner and Visiting Professor at Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP), Universiti Teknologi MARA, and University Technology Malaysia (UTM). He is also External Examiner at the University of the West Indies and University College London.

Since its launch in 1998, Colin has been Editor of Elsevier’s Biochemical Engineering Journal. He is also an editorial board member of several other biotechnology related journals.

Research interests

Since establishing the Satake Centre for Grain Process Engineering in 1994, Professor Webb's research activities have largely been directed towards the application of process engineering concepts to grain processing systems. Much of this work is being undertaken to investigate the possible future role of cereals and other solid biomass as raw materials for industrial chemicals.

The vast majority of grains are produced for food or feed purposes, but there is an increasing interest in industrial uses, including the production of biofuels. Recent research efforts have been directed towards the establishment of biomass based biorefineries. Such biorefineries will, in the relatively near future, play a major role in the sustainable development of a successful post-petroleum era.

Research carried out to-date has involved the successful supervision of 125 research theses and dissertations and has resulted in the production of over 280 publications, including 11 books and 6 patent applications. Professor Webb has been an invited keynote or plenary speaker at many international conferences including the following:

 “Bio-based Industrial Chemicals from Biorefinery Wastes” Keynote Lecture at 5th Kobe University Brussels European Centre Symposium, Brussels, 14th October, 2014

 “Utilisation of Biorefinery Wastes for Next Generation Fermentation Products” Keynote Lecture at Capacity Building and Development of Microbial Potential and Fermentation Technology towards New Era, Bangkok, Thailand, 10th August, 2014

“Bioprocessing and the Bioengineer” Plenary Lecture, 6th International Bioengineering Congress (BEC 2013) Izmir, Turkey, 12th November, 2013

 “Biochemical Engineering and the Chemical Engineer” Keynote Lecture, IChemE Malaysia BESIG launch event, Kuala Lumpur, 22nd October, 2013

 “Bioprocessing of Biofuel Waste Streams” Keynote Lecture, IFIB-2012 - 5th International Conference on Industrial Bioprocesses, Taipei, Taiwan, October 7–10, 2012

“Platform chemical production from renewable raw materials”, Plenary Lecture, YABEC 2010 The 16th Symposium of Young Asian Biochemical Engineers' Community, Taipei, Taiwan, 21st November, 2010

 “Utilisation of Waste Food Products for the Bioproduction of Chemicals and Fuels” Keynote Lecture at 2nd International Symposium of Innovative BioProduction Kobe (iBioK) Kobe, Japan, 22nd January, 2010

My group


Colin has supervised a total of 125 postgraduate students to successful completion, including 39 PhD and 85 MSc. He has, however, recently started a flexible retirement plan and is no longer taking on new PhD or MSc students.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

External positions

Trustee, Institute of Chemical Engineers

1 May 201230 Apr 2018

Editor, The Biochemical Engineering Journal, Elsevier BV

1 Jan 1993 → …


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