ERIN JOHNSON, a doctoral researcher at Imperial College London’s Centre for Process Systems Engineering, has been named as the 2017 IChemE Ashok Kumar Fellow.
Johnson will take up a three-month internship at the UK’s Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) later this year. Whilst there, she will either prepare a ‘POSTnote’, which is a short briefing paper for MPs, contribute to a longer report, or assist a select committee in a current inquiry, the topic of which will be relevant to the chemical and process industries.
The Ashok Kumar Fellowship was set up in memory of Kumar, an IChemE Fellow and UK member of parliament, following his sudden death in 2010. It is jointly funded by IChemE and the North-East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC).
Johnson is currently studying for a PhD at Imperial College London, after five years working for National Grid. She is currently researching green gases, such as biomethane, the techno-economic challenges for their use, and how they could contribute to a sustainable energy system for the UK. She says that she is honoured to be awarded the Fellowship.
“The Ashok Kumar Fellowship is a fantastic chance to build bridges between industry, academic research and politics. I was attracted to this opportunity so I could use my chemical engineering mindset to benefit society in an unusual way. It is my ambition to help shape evidence-based policy in energy and the environment. I hope to gain an understanding of the parliamentary process and see how researchers and industry experts can help parliamentarians develop the best policies,” she added.
As part of the application process, Johnson had to prepare her own briefing note similar to a POSTnote, and chose the topic of sustainable food production.
“Erin really impressed us with the depth of her research, her ability to explain complex issues clearly and succinctly, and to present the implications and policy options in an unbiased way. The Ashok Kumar Fellowship is a great opportunity for chemical engineers with an interest in policy to get a first-hand understanding of how parliament works and how sound science and engineering can improve policy-making,” said IChemE director of policy and publications Claudia Flavell-While.
The 2016 Ashok Kumar Fellow, Akshay Deshmukh, completed a POSTnote on the subject of physical and cyber security in the nuclear industry.
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