Biology is a rich source of great ideas that can inspire us to find successful ways to solve the challenging problems in engineering practices including those in the chemical industry. Bio-inspired chemical engineering (BioChE) may be recognized as a significant branch of chemical engineering. It may consist of, but not limited to, the following three aspects: 1) Chemical engineering principles and unit operations in biological systems; 2) Process engineering principles for producing existing or developing new chemical products through living ‘devices’; and 3) Chemical engineering processes and equipment that are designed and constructed through mimicking (does not have to reproduce one hundred percent) the biological systems including their physical–chemical and mechanical structures to deliver uniquely beneficial performances. This may also include the bio-inspired sensors for process monitoring. In this paper, the above aspects are defined and discussed which establishes the scope of BioChE.