Process Systems Engineering Education: Learning by Research


  • A. Abbas University of Sydney
  • H.Y. Alhammadi University of Bahrain
  • J.A. Romagnoli Louisiana State University


In this paper, we discuss our approach in teaching the final-year course Process Systems Engineering. Students are given ownership of the course by transferring to them the responsibility of learning. A project-based group environment stimulates learning while solving a real engineering problem. We discuss postgraduate student involvement and how research is used for learning, thus we redefine the undergraduate’s models of teaching and learning by directly integrating undergraduate studies with postgraduate research. The paper also discusses generic attributes and presents details of the course structure and outcomes of three student projects.

Author Biographies

A. Abbas, University of Sydney

Ali Abbas received both his B.E. (chem) and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney, Australia. He is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney and director of the Laboratory for Multiscale Systems. He held previous appointments as assistant professor of chemical engineering at Nan yang Technological University and University of New South Wales Asia, Singapore. He has strong interests in teaching and learning research as well as research in modelling and control of particulate processes. His engineering research is in the area of Process Systems Engineering.

H.Y. Alhammadi, University of Bahrain

Hasan Alhammadi is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Bahrain. He holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney (Australia) and an M.Sc. in process integration from UMIST (UK). His recent publications and research interests are in the areas of process systems engineering (process integration and control and optimization) and engineering education.

J.A. Romagnoli, Louisiana State University

Jose Romagnoli received his Bachelor's (chemical engineering) at Universidad Nacional def Sur, Argentina, and Ph.D. (chemical engineering) at the University of Minnesota. He currently holds the Gordon A. and Mary Cain Endowed Chair at the Department of Chemical Engineering at Louisiana State University. He is also the M. Gautreaux/Ethyl Chair Professor at the same university and director of the Process Systems Engineering Laboratory. He was awarded the Centenary Medal of Australia by the Prime Minister of Australia for contributions to the field of Chemical Engineering (2003).