IChemE calls final-year students and postgrads to apply for three-month Fellowship in UK Parliament

Article by Amanda Jasi

FINAL year and postgraduate chemical engineering students are being urged to apply for the Ashok Kumar Fellowship to be in with a shot of spending three months at the UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST).

Jointly funded by IChemE and the Materials Processing Institute, the annual Fellowship was launched in memory of former chemical engineer and Teesside MP Ashok Kumar. It bridges chemical engineering and Parliament, aiming to improve political understanding of the value of science and engineering, and vice versa.

Duncan Lugton, IChemE head of policy and impact, said: “This Fellowship offers a promising early career chemical or process engineer the rare chance to gain first-hand experience of working in Parliament, and mobilise that knowledge back into the profession. At a time when IChemE is amplifying our voice across government to demonstrate the unique contribution chemical engineers can make to solving the world’s grand challenges, this is an exceptional opportunity to make a positive contribution to shaping UK policy.”

The successful candidate will focus on producing a parliamentary briefing POSTnote for MPs and peers on an emerging science, engineering, or social science topic that is relevant and timely for the UK Parliament. After the placement, the successful candidate will share their learnings and knowledge on policy with IChemE members and the Materials Processing Institute.

Simon Brawley, physical sciences and digital lead at POST, added: “The talented Fellows that join us at POST make a key contribution to our work programme. The Ashok Kumar Fellowship forms an important connection between Parliament and the chemical and process engineering communities as Fellows bring their research, writing, and analysis skills to bear, producing a range of impartial, accurate, and accessible POST briefings. We have enjoyed working with Dylan Sherman, the 2023/2024 Ashok Kumar Fellow, very much indeed, and I’m looking forward to extending a welcome to the successful 2024/2025 applicant.”

Engineers can apply if they are in their final year or have completed, within the past year, an undergraduate master’s degree in a discipline related to chemical engineering, process engineering, materials science, applied chemistry, or have equivalent industry experience. This could include conducting a research project on a related topic.

PhD and EngD students conducting research in a related field may also apply with permission from their supervisors to suspend their studies for three months.

The timing of the placement will be agreed by the successful candidate and POST but is expected to be between January 2025 and May 2025.

Applications will close on 30 June at 23:59 UK time.

To learn more about the opportunity and how to apply, visit IChemE’s Ashok Kumar Fellowship page.

At the time of his death in 2010, IChemE Fellow Ashok Kumar was the Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East and the only chartered chemical engineer in the UK House of Commons. Prior to his career in politics, Kumar spent 14 years working as a research scientist for British Steel at the Teesside Technology Centre in Grangetown. From that background he developed a strong conviction of the importance of industrial R&D to the UK economy.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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