Dylan Sherman awarded 2023 Ashok Kumar Fellowship

Article by Amanda Jasi

Dylan Sherman, who has a background in materials engineering and law, will assist in providing briefing materials for parliamentarians on emerging science topics

ICHEME has awarded the 2023 Ashok Kumar Fellowship to Dylan Sherman, a final-year DPhil student in engineering science at the University of Oxford, UK.

The annual fellowship is jointly funded by IChemE and the Materials Processing Institute, and offered in partnership with the UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST). It provides an exciting opportunity for an early-career researcher to interact closely with policymakers and activities in both houses of parliament. Previous fellows have briefed lawmakers on cyber conflict and chemical weapons.

Sherman will assist POST in providing briefing material for parliamentarians on emerging science topics, gaining real-world experience of how research evidence is communicated to decision-makers.

Lydia Harriss, senior physical sciences adviser and international lead at POST, said: “We were delighted to award this year’s Ashok Kumar Fellowship to Dylan, whose exceptional application stood out from a field of very strong candidates. His research and communication skills, combined with his background in both materials engineering and law, put him in a great position to make a valuable contribution to POST’s work. We very much look forward to welcoming him onto the team next year.”

Sherman said: “I am so grateful to have been offered this opportunity to engage in the communication of science within the UK parliament. I’m looking forward to contributing to the ever-growing voice of POST in providing the relevant research for evidence-based decision-making, as growing the network between our science community and parliament is critical to achieving sustainable change. I thank IChemE and the Materials Processing Institute for sponsoring the fellowship and I hope I can continue the important legacy of Ashok Kumar."

Yvonne Baker, CEO of IChemE, congratulated Sherman on his appointment, adding: “The Ashok Kumar Fellowship is a valuable opportunity for an outstanding young researcher who will be uniquely placed to ensure our profession’s expert voices are heard in parliament while building their knowledge, insight, and professional networks under the expert auspices of POST. Working to effectively bridge the gap between scientists and political decision-makers is a fitting tribute to a talented chemical engineer, as well as key to enabling us to engineer a sustainable world.”

Jon Bolton, chairman of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “The Ashok Kumar Fellowship enables UK parliament to benefit from dedicated research into a specific area of scientific importance which helps enable informed debate, discussion, and decision-making among parliamentarians. We are delighted to continue to support this fellowship in partnership with POST and IChemE.”

The fellowship is named in memory of the late IChemE Fellow and Middlesbrough MP, Ashok Kumar, who died suddenly in 2010 aged 53. Ashok spent 14 years working as a research scientist prior to his parliamentary career and had a strong belief in the importance of research and development.

You can learn more about the fellowship online.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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