Applications open for chemical engineering Fellowship in UK Parliament

Applications open for chemical engineering Fellowship in UK Parliament

15th May 2024

Chemical engineering final year students and postgraduates are invited to apply for the Ashok Kumar Fellowship, a three-month placement at the UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST). Applications open today, 15 May 2024, and close 23:59 BST on 30 June 2024.

The annual Fellowship, launched in memory of former chemical engineer and Teesside MP Ashok Kumar, bridges chemical engineering and Parliament, and aims to improve political understanding of the value of science and engineering, and vice versa.

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 also share their learnings and knowledge on policy with IChemE members and the Materials Processing Institute.

The Fellowship is open to engineers who are in the 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 who have equivalent industry experience. This could include conducting a research project on a related topic. 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 timing of the placement will be agreed by the successful candidate and POST, and is expected to be between January 2025 and May 2025.

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.”

Jon Bolton, Executive Chairman of the Materials Processing Institute, commented: “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, 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.”

Dr 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.”

For more information on the eligibility criteria, the application pack, and to read the POSTnotes of previous Fellows, visit our Ashok Kumar Fellowship section.

Notes to editors

The fellowship was established in memory of IChemE Fellow Ashok Kumar, who, at the time of his sudden death in 2010, 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’s economy.

The Fellowship is jointly funded by IChemE and the Materials Processing Institute.


Ashok Kumar Fellowship

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST)

Materials Processing Institute


For more information please contact: 

Ann Baylis, Communications Executive and PR Lead, IChemE
t: +44 (0) 1788 534477

Andrew Cargill, Marketing Manager, Materials Processing Institute
t: +44 (0) 1642 382047 

Dr Simon Brawley, Physical Sciences and Digital Lead, POST
t: +44 (0) 20 7219 2293   

What is chemical engineering?

Chemical, biochemical and process engineering is the application of science, mathematics and economics in the process of turning raw materials into everyday, and more specialist, products. Professional chemical engineers design, construct and manage process operations all over the world. Energy, pharmaceuticals, food and drink, synthetic fibres and clean drinking water are just some of the industry sectors and products where chemical engineering plays a central role.


The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) advances chemical engineering's contribution worldwide for the benefit of society. We facilitate the development of chemical engineering professionals and provide connections to a powerful network of around 30,000 members in more than 100 countries.

We support our members in applying their expertise and experience to make an influential contribution to solving major global challenges, and are the only organisation permitted to award Chartered Chemical Engineer status and Professional Process Safety Engineer registration.

Materials Processing Institute

The Materials Processing Institute is a research and innovation centre supporting the Foundation Industries and organisations that work in advanced materials, industrial decarbonisation, the circular economy, and digital technologies.

The Institute has served as the UK’s national steel innovation centre since 1944 having been set up by Sir Winston Churchill’s wartime government just before D-Day to equip the British steel industry for post-war reconstruction.

The Institute provides a range of technology and R&D based services and consultancy. It also has pilot and demonstration facilities and an SME Technology Centre to support supply chain businesses with the development of new technologies, materials and processes. Works with: steel, metals and alloys, chemical processes, aerospace and defence, energy, mining and quarrying, construction, rail, transport, and infrastructure, offshore, subsea, and nuclear.

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