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Applications are invited for the Ashok Kumar Fellowship

Applications are invited for a fellowship scheme established in memory of chemical engineer and former MP Dr Ashok Kumar.

Jointly funded by the Materials Processing Institute and the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), it provides a three-month placement working alongside policy makers in the influential Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST).

After the placement, the successful candidate will also work with IChemE’s Learned Society Committee to share their learnings and knowledge on policy with members.

Applications to the Ashok Kumar Fellowship, which are open from 2 March to 18 April 2022 are invited from engineers in their final year, or who have completed in the last 12 months, an undergraduate master’s degree in a discipline related to chemical engineering, process engineering, materials science, applied chemistry, or who have equivalent industry experience. Applications will also be accepted from PhD and EngD students conducting research in a related field with permission from their supervisors to suspend their studies for three months.

The Fellowship was established in 2010 in memory of IChemE Fellow Ashok Kumar, who at the time of his sudden death that year was Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East and the only Chartered Chemical Engineer in the House of Commons.

Amber Keegan, a PhD student in chemical engineering and chemistry at the University of Sheffield, is the current Ashok Kumar Fellow, and has produced a briefing on cyber conflict.

Chris McDonald, Chief Executive of the Teesside-based Materials Processing Institute, said: “Just as Ashok Kumar was a pioneering engineer in politics, so through this fellowship we are fostering a greater understanding between scientific experts and political decision makers. All of the major societal challenges of this century, from climate change to artificial intelligence, to pandemic response, require a deft combination of science, engineering and public policy. Ashok Kumar Fellows have the opportunity to make their contribution to this important aspect of public service.”

Lydia Harriss, Senior Physical Sciences Adviser at POST, said: “The Ashok Kumar Fellowship makes a key contribution to POST’s work programme and forms an important bridge between Parliament and the chemical and process engineering communities. Our talented Fellows have brought their research, writing and analysis skills to bear on a range of POST briefings over the years. They in turn have gained experience of writing impartially for a policy audience and engaging with diverse stakeholders, while developing a unique insight into the UK Parliament.”

Alexandra Meldrum, IChemE Vice President Learned Society, said: “If you’re a chemical engineer, with an interest in understanding how chemical engineers can make a positive contribution to shaping UK science policy, then I’d strongly encourage you to apply for the Ashok Kumar Fellowship. You’ll get a first-hand experience working alongside parliamentarians and policymakers.

The three-month placement will take place at a suitable time expected to be between September 2022 and May 2023.

For more information on the eligibility criteria, the application pack and to read the briefing notes of previous Fellows, visit https://www.mpiuk.com/ashok-kumar-fellowship.htm

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