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Professor Stephen Moore: Oration

Read Professor Semali Perera's oration on Professor Stephen Moore for the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering in December 2017.


Professor Stephen Moore
Professor Stephen Moore


Stephen Moore has had a long and distinguished career in process engineering and, as an inspirational figure, he is an excellent role model for aspiring young engineers. He has been a supporter of both education and research at the University of Bath for more than 15 years.

Stephen was born in Middlesbrough, a town in the North East on the river Tees, built around steel making, ship building and chemical manufacturing. His passion for engineering developed at a very young age, through his family’s long involvement with ship building and marine engineering. One of his earliest memories is being shown the engine room of a ship by his father. This led him to take his degree in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, where he was awarded an Honours degree in 1978.

His first job was with ICI, where he was designing new processes for chloralkali products. However, his real interest was in industrial research, so he returned to Imperial College to study for a PhD and graduated in 1984 in Advanced Chemical Engineering. After gaining his PhD, he developed a very successful career at Unilever, mainly in the company’s food, home and personal care businesses.

One of his early successes was in the development of enzymatic bio-catalysis for the manufacture of oils and fats. This development led to the first commercial plant using enzyme catalysis for oils and fats processing, with applications ranging from confectionary fats to infant nutrition. Stephen was also involved in the development of low fat spreads, such as Flora, and cholesterol-lowering spreads. Another major contribution to food engineering is his fundamental work on crystallisation of, and the use of, ice-structuring proteins for manufacture of ice cream. Many of the products he has worked with will be familiar to all of us, such as Magnum and Carte d’Or ice cream.

During 2010-12, Stephen was Principal Engineer for Unilever’s Technology Platform and Physical Sciences Research Director at Unilever’s Colworth Laboratory. In this senior role, Stephen was responsible for Unilever’s background research programme in process science and for developing the process science research strategy across Unilever’s five research laboratories located in Europe, North America and Asia. Steve’s last role before retirement (2012-14) was as Manufacturing Research Director for Unilever’s Refreshment (Ice Cream and Beverages) category. Stephen has published 15 research papers and is the named inventor on 17 granted patents, mostly related to his process- and product-development activities at Unilever.

Stephen is not only an excellent engineer, but he also has a passion for sharing his knowledge with young people. He has been a Visiting Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Bath since 2000. The Department has benefitted enormously from Stephen’s up-to-date knowledge and understanding of industrial chemical engineering design, via his teaching and supervision of students on final-year design projects, since 2000. Final design projects are capstone activities in our undergraduate degree programmes in Chemical Engineering, and Stephen’s enthusiastic and inspirational input gave the students a perfect 'real world' perspective on process and product design. In addition to his unrivalled industrial design expertise, he has made important contributions to the engineering education of undergraduates at many other Universities, including Cambridge.

He also instigated the Unilever Product and Process Design Prize for our final-year undergraduate students. Recently, he helped with setting up a new Industrial Placement Programme with Unilever. He facilitated a number of research programmes with Unilever and has also set up and supervised Industrial PhD studentships in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Mathematical Sciences. He has been a member of the EPSRC peer review college. Professor Barry Crittenden, Dr Mike Bird, Dr Tom Arnot and I had the pleasure of working especially closely with Stephen over the years on various projects.

The award of an honorary degree to Stephen is a well-earned, entirely appropriate and timely 'thank you' to Stephen for his unstinting work with all engineers and scientists, and for inspiring so many of our students in chemical engineering design.

Chancellor, I present to you Professor Stephen Moore, who is eminently worthy to receive the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.'

Professor Semali Perera

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