New professorship for Engineering Chemistry

Posted on January 16, 2020


A new Professorship is advancing one of the oldest and most reputable programs in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. The Robins Family Professor of Engineering Chemistry will provide valuable leadership to the program as it broadens its design mandate to include chemical diagnostic techniques, alternative energy systems, and green chemistry applications.

The Robins Family Professorship was made possible through a generous gift from alumnus Barry Robins (BSc’64), the Founder and Chair of Davos Pharma. The Robins family has strong ties to Queen’s – Barry’s two sons are also engineering graduates, and two of his grandsons are enrolled in the Engineering Chemistry program.

Dr. Scott Parent, the Hazell Research Professor of Chemical Design and Innovation, says that the Robins family epitomizes the spirit of the Engineering Chemistry program.

“Barry came from a modest background to build a globally successful company that is remarkably innovative,” he says. “Together with his sons David and Brian, Barry has created a company that is based upon sound technical knowledge, a keen eye for market opportunities and a remarkable tolerance for risk. I cannot think of a better example for our students.”

The successful candidate for the Professorship, a new faculty hire, will develop new curriculum design elements focused on biomedical and environmental monitoring devices, energy conversion/storage devices such as fuel cells and batteries, and sustainable processes for producing fine chemicals. The Robins Professor will also strengthen the relationship between Chemical Engineering and Chemistry by engaging faculty from both departments.

Barry Robins says that the Professorship is key to Queen’s leading the way in these important fields.

Dr. Parent says that the gift will have a major impact on the department, and provide students unrivalled opportunities to solve contemporary societal problems.

“Engineering chemists have the fundamental knowledge and the design training needed to produce innovative and sustainable technological advances,” he says. “This new position will provide a champion that Queen’s needs to fully realize our vision for a dynamic and impactful Engineering Chemistry program.”