Prestigious engineering Fellowship helps integrate science into policy-making

Prestigious engineering Fellowship helps integrate science into policy-making

25th September 2023

The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and the Materials Processing Institute are delighted to announce their appointment of Dylan Sherman as the 2023 Ashok Kumar Fellow.

The Ashok Kumar Fellowship is offered in partnership with POST (the UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology) and is an exciting opportunity for an early-career researcher to interact closely with policy-makers and activities in both Houses of Parliament. The Fellow 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.

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.

Dylan Sherman, currently in his final year of a DPhil in Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, UK, 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, IChemE CEO, said: “Congratulations to Dylan on his appointment! The Ashok Kumar Fellowship is a valuable opportunity for an outstanding young researcher who will be uniquely placed to ensure our professions’ 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, Materials Processing Institute Chairman, 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. Dylan secured this opportunity following a rigorous selection process involving several excellent candidates; so, it is testament to his abilities that he was selected. I have no doubt that he will make a significant and positive contribution to POST.”

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.”

Read more about the Ashok Kumar Fellowship at


Ashok Kumar Fellowship

POST (the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology)

Materials Processing Institute


For more information please contact: 

Lucy Cook, Communications Manager, IChemE 
t: +44 (0) 1788 534454

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

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

Devyani Gajjar, Physical Sciences and Digital Adviser, POST 
t: +44 (0) 207 219 5829 

Notes for Editors

The Ashok Kumar Fellowship is open to engineers who have recently completed a degree at undergraduate Masters level or above in chemical engineering, process engineering, materials science (or a related discipline) or who have equivalent industry experience. The Fellow’s work may include producing a POSTnote (a briefing document for MPs and Peers), supporting the Parliamentary libraries, organising a research seminar, or assisting a Select Committee with an inquiry.

The 2023 Ashok Kumar Fellow, Dylan Sherman, is studying for a DPhil in Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, UK, supported by the 2020 Australian Sir John Monash BHP Scholarship and the flagship Oxford Clarendon Scholarship. His research, published in Nature Communications and Advanced Functional Materials, explores designing sustainable luminescent nano materials that harness power from the sun for applications including water purification and organic LED alternatives.

In 2022, Dylan was recognised as an American Chemical Society CAS Future Leader and in 2023 he was awarded a silver medal at ‘STEM for Britain’ held in the Houses of Parliament. Passionate about science communication and education, Dylan also holds a Stipendiary Lectureship at Trinity College Oxford, frequently presents his work to a range of diverse audiences, and serves on the board of the not-for-profit organisation Future Problem Solving Program International.

Previously, Dylan graduated from the University of Sydney, Australia, with a Bachelor of Science (Advanced)(Honours)(University Medal) and a Bachelor of Laws (Honours). He also practised as a lawyer at the leading corporate Australian firm Clayton Utz.

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 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. It will celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2024.

Through collaboration with its customers, 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 and products. Works with: steel, metals and alloys, chemical processes, aerospace and defence, energy, mining and quarrying, construction, rail, transport, and infrastructure, offshore, subsea, and nuclear.

More information:

POST (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology)

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) sits within the House of Commons Research and Information team, although it works for both Houses of Parliament. It is overseen by a Board of MPs, Peers and external experts and helps Parliament to access research from across the biological, physical and social sciences, and engineering and technology. 

POST provides balanced and accessible overviews of research, mainly in the form of 'POSTnotes'. These POSTnotes are based on reviews of the research literature and interviews with stakeholders from across academia, industry, government and the third sector, and are reviewed by external experts. 

POST runs seminars, receptions and other events on science and technology topics. It also runs several fellowship schemes with Research Councils, learned societies and charities, through which PhD students and other researchers are sponsored to spend three months working at POST. 

POST also supports Select Committees with informal advice, oral briefings and background briefing papers.

More information: