Discussion Central

Expand all | Collapse all

Qualities of a researcher

  • 1.  Qualities of a researcher

    Posted 08-01-2020 02:41
    What are the qualities one must develop to become a great researcher in chemical engineering ?

    Murugappan N

    Graduate chemical engineer

  • 2.  RE: Qualities of a researcher

    Posted 08-04-2020 02:11
    Wow.  That's a big question with possible answers in so many areas.

    I was a technology manager for ARCO Chemical / Lyondell, and my group was a corporate process engineering function that served a role between Plant Operations and Engineering on the one hand, and our Research (lab) and Development (pilot unit) groups on the other. So maybe a bit of perspective from someone that was the customer of researchers in chemical engineering and a provider of engineered solutions of that research to manufacturing organizations...

    The manufacturing organizational culture was centered on making product. Their goal was to do so safely, efficiently, and with an eye to the time-based changes to plant status. The R&D organization was developing the next step changes in technology. My goal was to move the best ideas to reality by simultaneously plant-testing and advocating the worthy work from R&D while honoring the needs of the plant to make product.

    Looking back, the R&D folks that had the most impact were those that
    • were fundamentally sound in our technologies, existing or emergent,
    • applied solid scientific fundamentals to create and investigate hypothetical improvements,
    • did not hesitate to declare when science did not support a pet hypothesis, realizing that an unsupported hypothesis was in fact a discovery,
    • could communicate their work in a way that inspired confidence in their recommendations, and
    • had the ability to accept manufacturing feedback as it related to the practicality of modifying an idea to support implementation.

    Steve Cutchen
    Investigator, retired
    US Chemical Safety Board
    Houston TX