Message from the Head

Welcome to the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CHBE) at The University of British Columbia (UBC). UBC is consistently ranked as one of the top 40 Universities in the World, most recently by the Times Higher Education, and the quality of our CHBE Department, its faculty and staff, and its entire student body are an important reason why.  Faculty and students within the CHBE Department conduct field-defining research that is providing solutions to many of the World’s most pressing challenges – advanced fuel cells, batteries and photovoltaics that provide clean energy while reducing the use of gasoline and other fossil fuels, green technologies and whole processes to convert renewable natural resources into the vast array of products, chemicals and materials used by society now and in the future.

Charles Haynes

We are pioneering next-generation pharmaceuticals, medical devices and drug-delivery systems needed to improve human health in ways that also reverse currently sky-rocketing healthcare costs, as well as advanced technologies for providing clean drinking water and safe foods to all people, including those living in the most impoverished countries and communities. And I’ve merely scratched the surface of what we do and provide. Each day, the CHBE Department and the terrific talent within it are providing innovative solutions for this and future generations.

Our core mission is to fully prepare our engineering graduates to be leaders of industry and society.  Developing your advanced technical and problem-solving skills, ability to effectively and persuasively communicate and understanding of how to best serve society are our focus.  The broad and potent set of skills you will acquire are highly valued and recruited by an ever-increasing range of industries, including clean energy and transportation, advanced materials, biotechnology, micro-and nano-machines, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, chemicals and advanced materials, foods, and mining and forest products represent just a few important examples.  Indeed, the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that Chemical Engineering ranked 1st among all college majors in terms of both highest starting salary and highest median salary mid-career.

Constantly improving your engineering skills and value to society are our guiding principles, and as a student in our Nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs you will see them at work not only in in our classrooms, but also in our laboratories, community and industry partnerships, entrepreneurial ventures, student organizations, and outreach activities.  Graduates of our programs are recognized leaders of industry and academia, and many hold patents for cutting-edge technologies or have formed thriving companies based on their research and inventions while at UBC.  Our class sizes are small compared to other engineering programs, allowing students to interact more closely and effectively with our faculty, many of whom are recipients of major teaching awards.

We are fully committed to constantly improving the process of engineering and engineering education. Over the next few years, the CHBE Department is therefore launching exciting new initiatives to improve the technical skills of our students, to provide them opportunities to use those skills to solve real problems facing society through Community Service Experiences, and to leverage powerful machine learning and data science tools to train our students in advanced computational skills that will give them a competitive edge. We recognize data science will make ever important contributions to our capacity to do advanced engineering, and we are committed to being positioned at the forefront of that revolution.

Please explore our website and learn how the CHBE Department is providing the people, knowledge and innovations needed to solve many of society’s most pressing problems.


Charles Haynes, PhD, P.Eng., FCAE, FRSC
Head, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Professor and Canada Research Chair in Interfacial Biotechnology