David Lynch CEng FIChemE - Nominee for Deputy President

  • Last Post 22 April 2020
Rachael Fraser - Communications Executive posted this 24 March 2020

David Lynch CEng FIChemE is Global Head of Engineering for GSK’s Global Manufacturing and Supply business.

Please click on the attached file to download his biography and election statement. You’re welcome to use this thread to ask David any questions you may have about his nomination.

Attached Files

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Bill Harper posted this 25 March 2020


What is your take on the activities and achievements of the UK Board over the last couple of years?

Specifically what is your line on the decision of the Board to wind itself up?

What do you see as its future?



Andrew Bailey posted this 25 March 2020

Thanks for your reply on the other thread David.  As you joined Interface about two hours ago, why have you not engaged on here previously?

Andrew Bailey posted this 25 March 2020

The same question(s) to all three candidates for Deputy President:

How will you be able to dedicate sufficient time and energy to the role of Deputy President, and ultimately President in 2021, noting the current senior role that you have at your employer?  Should you be successful at this election, would you look to modify the role of IChemE President to make it more accessible to other IChemE members in the future?

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David Lynch posted this 25 March 2020

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your questions. 

The answer to the first question is that whilst working at GSK I chose not to participate. This was mainly because I was too busy, but also because I am not a massive fan of social media.

I do however recognise it is important and even more so in the current circumstances and I will try and answer as many of the questions on this thread as I receive over the next couple of weeks.

The answer to the second question is that I left GSK at the end of 2019 and now have a new degree of freedom over how I allocate time. Whilst I plan to do some work I have provisionally allocated the time to do this role. You might be interested to know that the Presidents role description very clearly sets out how much time is required in each of the three years and that each candidate was asked to confirm they had read and understood this. In addition the Nomination Committee was provided with  written confirmation from each candidate that they would be able to allocate sufficient time if they were elected.



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David Lynch posted this 25 March 2020


Thanks for your question.

The UK Board has undergone a change in role purpose over the past two years. In the former operating model the Board was set up to provide a governance forum for the UK. Its remit covered policy, budget and qualifications, as well as a member engagement; where concerns could be raised for escalation and best practice of regional activities shared. Each Board member represented a number regional membership groups and this was perhaps the key purpose of the Board in that operating model.

The UK Board has also played a key role in ensuring a smooth transition to the new operating model and now has a very limited holding remit. I am not a fan of having more forums than is absolutely necessary and I think the balance of activity can ultimately be transferred elsewhere.

My view is that the this has been a necessary and healthy change. The IChemE demonstrated it possessed a number of healthy attributes which allowed it to listen to the feedback from the membership and then to take decisive steps to re-organise itself and refresh the goals and purpose of the organisation. 


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Andrew Bailey posted this 26 March 2020

It's now almost three years since the publication of the Uff Report:

Uff Report

For a long time, I have believed that UK-based Professional Engineering Institutions should work far more closely than they do now, both in terms of collaborative working and potential synergies of shared operations whilst maintaining the distinctiveness of each origin PEI.

Do you believe that the long term future of the IChemE, and other PEIs, is best served by enacting the recommendations of Uff, and to what degree?

David Lynch posted this 26 March 2020

Thanks for your question on whether the IChemE and other PEIs should enact Uff report recommendations. The short answer from my perspective is yes we should.

I think there are many activities that are common to all PEIs that could be more efficiently consolidated for the benefit of individual members and these are the first steps that should be taken.

Uff actually put forward the argument that in a dystopian future where all the PEIs were combined (and stray engineers were brought back into the fold) and the Royal Academy, Engineering Council and Engineering UK had a more cohesive and aligned purpose. The resulting Professional Engineering community would be a a much greater force than for good for its members and for society as a whole than it is now. It is difficult to argue with this and I certainly recognise that from an industry perspective this would be a significant and powerful development compared to the fragmented position today. Uff also realised that because of the vested interest of individual PEIs this was very unlikely to happen and that the best path, and the one he ultimately recommended would be to start by looking for areas of collaboration. 

So to answer the second part of the question is that I would push it as far as I could.

Bill Harper posted this 27 March 2020

Thanks David

Just to put on record that as the person who drove the creation of the Board its original intention was actually much broader than this.

However I do concur that around two years ago it seems to have lost it purpose and direction, and got somewhat lost in the areas you mention.

Hoping that one day an appropriate means can be found to once again get a democratically elected collaboration between members, employers and universities established to drive the strategy in the UK in a dynamic manner, which sees an increase in numbers, participation and influence.



Nigel Hirst posted this 27 March 2020

Same question to all three candidates:

” What is you view of the success, or otherwise, of Congress? If you became President, how would you develop the relationship between the BoT and Congress?”


David Lynch posted this 28 March 2020

Nigel - Thanks for your question and for the all work you and Congress are doing. I realise that as Chair you will have a well informed view on both these questions. So it is with due deference that I offer my view.

I think the the Congress report card after the first year or so is very encouraging and there has obviously been a lot of hard work and commitment by a lot of people. The lively debate you refer to elsewhere on Interface, on the Code of conduct is clear evidence that Congress is delivering on its principal purpose to provide review, comment and constructive challenge to the BoT on behalf of the members. So it is working! I also think that at the start of any new process it is natural that there will be early teething problems that need addressing. I believe you have clear view of what needs addressing (participation etc) and are doing so.

To address your second question, where would I focus to develop the relationship between Congress and the BoT?

This is clearly one of the most important focus areas for the President; whose stated role is to lead the Board of Trustees and ensure the IChemE strategy and policy reflects its aim to be an Institution led by members, supporting members and serving society.  

I would focus on two things. Firstly, making the relationship more effective and secondly, if the primary role of the BoT is the governance of the IChemE, I would seek to foster a role for Innovation in Congress.

What specifically would I do to make the relationship more effective? First, the regulations make clear the role of the BoT and Congress as it relates to key decisions on IChemE strategy, policy and other ‘key’ matters. The BoT holds the ‘D’ (decision rights) and Congress holds the ‘I’ (input rights). In organisations where the decision making process, for a specific group of decisions, is explicit and clearly defined it becomes possible for the process to be optimised to meet the purpose of the organisation. This works very effectively when it is supported by the right culture, which needs to be aligned to the aims of the organisation. So I would invest in establishing the right culture specifically for the decision making interactions between the BoT and Congress.

I would also work hard on further defining the ‘I’ for Congress. Whilst it stands for Input into the work of the BoT it also needs to stand for Innovation if we are to truly be a member led Institution. This would need shaping and boundaries establishing to allow experimentation to see what ideas will work but it will bring to life ‘Member led’.

So Nigel, a bit long winded but that is what I would do.

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Nigel Hirst posted this 28 March 2020

Thanks David. Very useful.


Andrew Bailey posted this 30 March 2020

None of the Deputy President candidates have posted on 'Interface' since it's inception in March 2018.  With what was a 70% failure rate for people who visit the forum for the first time after registering, and then never return, and a potential 'Mk2' upgrade for the forum postponed again, does this platform have a future under your Presidency?

Andrew Bailey posted this 30 March 2020

Inevitably, time for a question about the 'B' word for the members in the UK.

Does the IChemE have a greater role to ensure that chemical regulation in the UK going forward remains in a robust harmonised regime?  Do you believe that close alignment with the EU REACH regulations is desirable?


David Lynch posted this 30 March 2020

Hi Andrew - thanks for the questions on Interface and chemical regulation.

Does Interface have a future. The short answer from my perspective is yes it does, in one form or another. 

It will be interesting to see the stats at the end of this election to see whether Interface has been an effective forum for members seeking to ask questions of the candidates. If it proves to be the case and participation significantly improves, then it is worth understanding how to build on it. After all this the perfect ‘use case’ for Interface which, as you have pointed out elsewhere, allows an open discussion amongst members in a closed environment.

However the statistics for Interface since inception are not encouraging and the fundamental problems seems to be penetration, participation (4775members, 3558 posts in 670 discussions as of today), retention and engagement. The basic  functionality is there, it is one click from the home page and if you chose to follow a debate you get emailed when a new post is added. I do think Interface is an important and core functionality for the IChemE and it needs to be retained even if it usage is currently more ad hoc than mainstream.

On Chemical Regulation. I do think the IChemE will have a increasingly important role to play going forward and whilst I think this needs to more prominent, it should continue to be based on collaboration with the HSE and CIA (Chemical Industries Association).

In answer to the second part of the question Is that I do believe close alignment with EU REACH regulations is desirable. The HSE confirmed as recently as 27th February 2020, that for the meantime the UK would continue to follow EU REACH and that UK companies should continue to register with the European Chemicals Agency during the negotiation period. I appreciate this is slightly different to the news story given in your link to the Independent. However assuming for the purposes of answering the question here the HSEs advice is correct, it would seem to be the best approach given the amount of investment in complying to reach REACH to date and the volume chemical export business the UK has with the EU. The immediate complication for UK manufacturers would have been if UK REACH had significantly different and conflicting requirements that stopped export to the EU. 

To take the point more generally following Brexit, I believe that the IChemE will have a slightly different role to play than previously, with an inevitably a larger share of voice and influence on the impact of new standards and regulations.

Andrew Bailey posted this 01 April 2020

Member engagement remains an ongoing issue for the IChemE.  From an Interface post I made in May 2018:

The reality is that there are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of IChemE members that pay fees (which are, for the majority, reimbursed by their employer) to simply maintain some letters after their name and have no further interest in the Institution.  How we try to engage with more of our members is a huge challenge going forward, and I for one admit I don't have the answers to that problem.

I will say this - simply isolating over 30,000 members from having any sort of tangible influence to steer the future of the Institution is, in my opinion, not the way ahead.  Is championing 6% of the total membership demonstrating a "strong show of support" really a credible advert for a fully democratic educational charity with one of the most discerning constituencies available?

Note the figure of 30,000 quoted above was used before the IChemE resolved the lapsing/membership database issues.  As President, how will you reach out to the membership and try to engage more people?  Would you consider opening up the voting constituency to include associate members?

David Lynch posted this 01 April 2020

Hi Andrew - thanks for the question on how I would reach out to the membership and engage more people..

The level of participation (or engagement) we are currently seeing is a characteristic of the ’system’ that is the IChemE and it hasn’t really changed much in recent years. This is not a good or a bad thing it is simply a characteristic. I don’t think the answer lies with engagement tools such as Interface or events that create a spike of interest, but is much more fundamental and will come from reshaping of the goals of parts of the Institution to better meet the needs of its  different membership groups. If we take the IChemE Young members group as an example.

I would ask the Young members to ask and answer questions  like, “What would the IChemE need to do or facilitate to be of real value as you transition from University into your first professional role?”  I would ask them to create a proposal that would enable them to be empowered to act on their answers. Here I believe that if the  IChemE young members group, in collaboration with young members groups from other Institution’s were given this responsibility they would to develop an approach that meets many of their needs and precipitate a change in how PEIs collaborate in future. In my minds eye I can see for example, that this might include systems similar to the social media systems Universities use to welcome new first year students, being used by new graduates arriving in different parts of the country. I appreciate this would need to be managed with the regions and is country specific, but I believe that giving IChemE young members group the power to self organise within clear boundaries, with the clear goal as a group to successfully transition University graduates through the first 5 years of their career until they become professionally qualified would create a new paradigm of engagement for this group and the IChemE.

 So to answer your question If we want to change level of engagement more broadly we need to change the engagement paradigm for individual member groups but I would start by focusing on the future with the Young members group and make sure we get it right.

As a footnote I think there has been a significant improvement in content in many areas that interface with the membership such as the Chemical Engineer, areas of SiG focus and this should be recognised. 

Andrew Bailey posted this 03 April 2020

A timely follow-up question on the topic of member engagement.  The IChemE has published the results of the 2020 Congress nomination process (although the announcement was rather short on specific details).  I will withhold my personal opinion of the results, and try to focus on extracting some facts.

  • The functional college has lost 23% of its overall number of representatives, as three out of the five seats up for election remain vacant.
  • The regional college has the same number of occupied seats as the 2018 election, however, due to the lack of published detail, it can’t be deduced if the same areas have returned representatives or if there have been gains and losses.
  • There will be no Member election for Congress seats as all nominations received were unopposed.


  • Would you please offer comments on the above.
  • Is the current structure of Congress, while with merit, actually too ambitious to fulfil?
  • Advise how you could influence potential governance amendments to improve Congress representation. The 2022 Congress election will come during your tenure as President, so you will have been a Board Trustee for approximately 18 months at that point.

David Lynch posted this 03 April 2020

Hi Andrew, Thanks for today’s questions!

In an ideal world our Congress would be made up of elected representatives, with each college adequately represented in the elections. This would be supported by a Congress succession planning process that identifies potential future candidates and prepares for each election cycle. Whilst we have a new Congress, the outcome of 2020 nomination process did not meet these ideals and the reasons for this should be investigated and understood.

I think that the immediate past, current and newly elected members of congress will have some of best insights and suggestions and would play a key role in any review. Ideally Congress will define and own its succession process and would need to work in collaboration with the BoT to make any changes ahead of the 2022 elections. So assuming a properly structured review is what will happen some thoughts on your questions.

You suggest that the structure of congress might be too ambitious; this may be the case and based on the evidence it should be reviewed. I personally think the size and structure of Congress is about right, certainly the right order of magnitude to adequately represent the diversity of the institution. I do not think it would not meet its intended representative purpose if it had less than 20 members nor would it work with too many, so an upper limit of probably 50. The allocation of seats within this total is based on stratified and segmented representation model which again could be looked at ahead of the next election. So the size of Congress could be an area for Congress and the BoT to explore.

Part of the problem might also have something to do with the expectations and incentives of an individuals role in Congress and this needs be explored and understood. If the perceived expectation is that the demands of the role are too great compared to the rewards (motivators) then this this is a problem that would need addressing.

It would be useful to understand how many members are put off by the description of a typical congress role ;- working groups + 6 sessions and 1 physical meeting. There needs to be reasonable expectation set of the level of commitment in hours or days otherwise it will not deliver its purpose but it would be worth understanding if this is not clear or it is clear and is seen as too much. 

I think understanding the range of motivators that would make it worth while commit some time to the role is key. On the incentive side it might be reasonable to start setting some longer terms expectations, for example that corporate partners should encourage participation in congress as a development opportunity for staff, indeed ensuring that it is a good development role with value on a CV. Equally that serving in Congress will become a prerequisite for other other roles and offices within the Institution. A more radical approach if these need to be augmented might be providing a number of credits that could be used for CPD courses or perhaps waiving part or all of the membership fees during the term in office in lieu of contribution. At some point there will be a balance.

Stepping back - the right answer is that a review of the election process should take place with the recommendations incorporated into the 2022 process

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David, I found your answers to the previous questions very informative.

Most of us who volunteer already know that volunteering for the IChemE counts as CPD. However, there are many members who are not aware that joining a committee or participating in established outreach programmes (like becoming an IChemE STEM Ambassador, for example) will not only satisfy their annual CPD requirements but also allow them to give back to the Institution and society.

I am committed to implementing initiatives that will encourage all members to become active volunteers (so that they can ensure that they fulfil their CPD obligations and by default) become more engaged members!!

Do you have any big initiatives that you want to push through if you are elected as Deputy President?

If yes, can/will you provide some of the details of the initiatives you would like to promote?



David Lynch posted this 10 April 2020

Hi Macsene 

Thanks for making some fantastic points on the benefits of volunteering; in first being able to give something back to the Institution and Society at large, but also for pointing out that it is recognised for its contribution to a volunteers professional development. 

Also thank you for asking for details on any big initiatives I would like to push.   

I want to start by saying that I think the Institution is in much better shape today than it was 4years ago. I remember looking at the membership’s demographic profile, by grade and age and seeing what I considered to be a fundamental problem. The problem I was looking at was conversion rate of the recent Chem Eng graduates into Chartered members. Established for a number of years, Why not Chem Eng had been a brilliant programme in creating interest in Chemical Engineering and the number of students taking Chemical Engineering degrees had grown significantly. The stats for starting salaries were in good shape at the time, at the top of graduate salaries, but the expected flow through of recent graduates to fully chartered members wasn’t there. The economics of a PEI are pretty simple, you need at least a third of your membership to be fully paid up chartered members to be sustainable. If you can get that to 40% thats very healthy and you must doing something right. I was keen to understand what the other Institutions, in particular the IMechE and the IET were doing. I also wanted to understand what impact the ongoing and accelerating shift in technologies would have on the Institution. From my Pharma perspective, I could see the rise of Bio-pharm was going to be critical and how the IChemE responded would determine its future relevance to the Bio-pharm engineering community. Doing this well would require an ongoing adaptive response for everything from the focus of associated SIGs to how the IChemE collaborated with the ISPE. I could see the dramatic impact technology, in particular digital technology, was having in my own workplace and the strategic importance of the new generation of graduates in creating the capability and organisations that would be needed to succeed in that future.

When the National Young Members Group was formed I could see the vital role that they would play in shaping the future of their Institution. For the reasons above this would be my big initiative and key focus area.

I would look to set a goal for our Young Members that allows them to begin to shape the purpose of the Institution to meet their needs. The WHY is vitally important here and needs to be made absolutely explicit to continuously align various parts of the Institution behind this goal. I would be ambitious in wanting this to be the envy of the other PEIs to the point where they to copy, collaborate and evolve themselves too. I strongly believe that what get measured gets done and that it is vital to choose the right measure. Success would be measured by changing the dynamics to show a strong growth in a satisfied Associate membership post graduation and with a lag increased conversion from this demographic to Chartered Membership.

I appreciate that this is not necessarily a new ambition and that many groups from the Regional Members Groups to the Young Members Group are actively working on this. I would simply want to see this at the top a coordinated and aligned priority list.


Andrew Bailey posted this 10 April 2020

Thanks David.  I'd be interested to hear more regarding the following:

I want to start by saying that I think the Institution is in much better shape today than it was 4 years ago. I remember looking at the membership’s demographic profile, by grade and age and seeing what I considered to be a fundamental problem. The problem I was looking at was conversion rate of the recent Chem Eng graduates into Chartered members.

Between 2014 and 2018, the number of chemical engineers that achieved chartership annually is an average of 447. 

2014 - 385

2015 - 802

2016 - 117

2018 - 474

In terms of the UK graduate intake (I've taken this figure as UK members account for 61% of the total IChemE membership), figures have varied around 3,200 to 3,750, so I don't see any major swings in conversion of graduate intake to C.Eng.  That's not quite the metric you quoted in your answer, but it's the best I can do with the available information to hand.

So what, in your opinion, changed in 2016?

Bill Harper posted this 11 April 2020


By the look of the Young Member Group's web-page they have a very impressive committee and are doing all the right things.

What in your opinion can be done to make their activities more visible and connected with the wider membership and the key stakeholders?

I would class myself in both categories and feel a strong desire to help and support the Group in anyway. However why are they not on my radar screen?

Would a credible replacement for the UK Board based on the current governance model and direction of the IChemE provide the necessary glue?



David Lynch posted this 11 April 2020

Hi Andrew - thanks for your question, the data and a chance to clarify What I think is a misunderstanding.

My response to Macsene’s question was that I would focus on trying to improve the conversion rate of Chem Eng grads into Chartered Members. If I use the data you provided the average conversion rate over the time period is 12.8%, which I think clearly makes the point as to why this needs attention. 

I think I may have caused some confusion in stating that I believed the Institution to be in better shape today than 4 years ago. This was a subjective reflection that in 2016, when I first looked at the data we did not have the National Young Members Group, were about to change the CEO and had yet to go through the EGM and restructuring. In my opinion the Young members group hold the key to both understand the reasons for leakage and the means to address it.

I hope that clarifies my earlier answer

David Lynch posted this 11 April 2020

Hi Bill,  Thanks for your questions.

I think that the National Young Members Committee (NYMC) should continue to have a seat on the UK Board or its future equivalent. This would allow the NYMC to discharge their stated goal to;

  • facilitate a sustainable two-way communication between younger IChemE members and IChemE’s governance, thereby enabling their views to be considered and potentially implemented in the development of IChemE policy and business planning.

I think this goal will need to be beefed-up to if we want to see more significant change in the conversion rate.

To answer your other questions I think the regions have a key role to play in publicising the local activities of the Regional Young Member Groups. I also think that a NYM communications strategy should be developed to make sure this becomes a key agenda item across the organisation.


Andrew Bailey posted this 20 April 2020

Would you look to reach out in any different ways to the self-employed community within the IChemE?

David Lynch posted this 22 April 2020

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your question. The short answer at the moment is that I don’t have any specific plans.

Having recently joined this community I can see that are and will be issues that need to be addressed and that these may need new approaches.