In 2023, the Institute of Process Engineering (IPE) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has made new progress and achievements in basic scientific research, engineering technology application, talent team construction, and scientific and technological support and guarantee, which has jointly engraved our key word in 2023 - confidence. 

    Confidence came from the veins of history. The year 2023 marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of IPE. In the past 65 years, our original belief, which is as firm as a bedrock, has been passed down without interruption. Under the guidance of the older generation of scientists, we have been forging ahead together with our nation, keeping momentum on reforms, keeping abreast of advances in science, remaining the leading position in process engineering science, and creating green manufacturing transformation technologies, firmly interpreting the responsibilities of generations of “process engineers”. 

    Confidence was driven by innovation. IPE continued to promote the reorganization of the national key laboratories to form a 3+2 new pattern of national platforms. The State Key Laboratory of Biopharmaceutical Preparation and Delivery was established upon the approval of CAS, the systematic construction of the State Key Laboratory of Mesoscience and Low-carbon Processes and the National Engineering Research Center of Green Recycling for Strategic Metal Resources have been increasingly improved, and the co-construction of the State Key Laboratory of Green and High-end Utilization of Salt Lake Resources and the State Key Laboratory of Petroleum Molecular & Process Engineering have been carried out in an orderly manner. The Institute made its debut and ranked 8th on the list of China’s top 50 research institutions in terms of scientific and technological innovation. It made major breakthroughs in a number of basic research fields, and the technical achievement of the single-dose dry-powder inhalable vaccine platform with a nano-micro composite multilevel structure was published in Nature. 

    Confidence came from our confidence in development. IPE promoted the implementation of the technologies for achieving carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals, and supported the transformative re-construction of industrial low-carbon and zero-carbon processes. A number of industrial demonstration plants have been newly built, including the 600,000t desulfurizer produced from calcium carbide slag, the 150,000t gold-containing sulfuric acid slag high-temperature chlorination, and the 10,000t waste PET degradation. More than 20 technologies have passed the achievement appraisal, including the fluidized magnetization roasting project of iron ore tailings, the green spinning process for regenerating cellulose from ionic liquids, and the technology for full-component recycling of lithium-ion battery/photovoltaic emerging inorganic solid waste, many of which have been rated as the “international leading level”. Its ability to undertake major tasks has been continuously improved, and it has taken the lead in organizing Strategic Priority Research Program of CAS for “Low-carbon Transformation Technologies and Demonstrations in Chemical Engineering and Metallurgical Processing”, and participated in the special research and development tasks in the direction of low-carbon energy, energy storage technology, and intelligent materials. The Institute made new breakthrough in funding, and the fund received in the whole year increased 16% over the previous year. It won 36 awards at or above the provincial and ministerial levels, and the achievement of “Key Collaborative Control Technology for Pollution and Carbon Emission Reduction in the Iron and Steel Industry” was selected as one of the top 10 scientific and technological advances in China’s ecological environment research. 

    Confidence came from the motivation to stride forward. The Institute has thoroughly implemented the strategy of "strengthening the institute through talents", introduced talents and cultivated talents around major tasks. The number of high-level personnel has reached 100, highlighting the advantages of leading backbone. It implemented the reform of talent classification and evaluation, and entered the first batch of pilot units for the evaluation and reform of scientific and technological talents in China and completed the job classification evaluation and employment of 154 people. IPE has made major breakthroughs in the construction of basic platforms, promoted the independent operation of the Langfang Engineering Base and Huairou Center, formed a new pattern of “one institute with two wings”, and built a new chain of “original innovation - pilot test - industrial demonstration”. The International Panel of Mesoscience was officially approved and established, and a cluster of world-class journals in professional discipline was initially established. 

    We will keep moving forward on the long journey toward our goals. In 2024, IPE will focus on major needs, stick to the characteristics of process engineering, and strive to make breakthroughs in key core technologies under the unique development pattern of “demand-driven, people-oriented, pragmatic, and world-class”; strive to build a world-class platform; strive to attract and cultivate young leading talents; and strive to create a progressive cultural atmosphere. Under the leadership of the new leadership team, we will promote the leapfrog development of the Institute, strive to fully realize “the four initiatives” and make due contributions to creating a new paradigm in reform and development. 

    The time goes by and the years are beautiful. On this occasion when we bid farewell to 2023 and usher in 2024, on behalf of the leadership of IPE, I would like to extend my sincerest greetings and heartfelt thanks to all the staff, young students, retired fellows and their families, as well as to people from all walks of life that have provided potent support for the development of the Institute. In 2024, I wish you all happiness in all the four seasons and a splendid new year full of hope and expectation!  


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