Call for UK chemical engineering postgraduate students to apply for a Fellowship at Parliament

Call for UK chemical engineering postgraduate students to apply for a Fellowship at Parliament

14th July 2021

Are you a UK postgraduate student in chemical or process engineering keen to work alongside policymakers at Parliament? You can apply for the Ashok Kumar Fellowship now.

This Fellowship is jointly funded by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and the Materials Processing Institute. The prize is an opportunity to spend three months working at the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST), with a focus on producing a parliamentary briefing note for Members of Parliament (MPs) on a relevant subject. Following their time at POST, the successful candidate will also work with IChemE’s Learned Society Committee to share their learnings and knowledge on policy with IChemE members.

The Fellowship is open to engineers who have completed a degree at undergraduate Master’s level or above, in a discipline related to chemical or process engineering, materials science, applied chemistry or a related discipline, or 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.

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

Alexandra Meldrum, IChemE Vice President Learned Society, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who is keen to understand what it’s like on the inside of Parliament and to get first-hand experience of how chemical engineers can positively contribute to UK policy. Chemical engineers have a unique skillset allowing them to produce clear, evidence-based information to policy- and decision-makers. I encourage anyone interested to apply.

“IChemE’s Learned Society Committee is delighted to support this initiative and is grateful to the Materials Processing Institute for supporting the next phase of this Fellowship to enable and encourage professional development of the successful candidate.”

IChemE Fellow, Chris McDonald, Chief Executive Office at the Materials Processing Institute, said:

“We are delighted to be supporting this hugely important Fellowship – founded in memory of someone who was passionate about Teesside’s future. Ashok Kumar was also a respected chemical engineer who championed the profession and dedicated himself to promoting and shaping government policy around science and technology.

“I was fortunate enough to work alongside Ashok here at the Materials Processing Institute in the 1990s and saw first-hand his passion for chemical and process engineering. This Fellowship offers a huge opportunity for a science based postgraduate student to support decision makers, at a time when this country needs to be committed to maximising the economic opportunities created by investment in science and technology.”

Dr Lydia Harriss, Senior Physical Sciences Adviser at POST, said:

“POST is delighted to collaborate with IChemE and the Materials Processing Institute to relaunch this important fellowship in the name of the former Chair of the POST Board, the late Ashok Kumar MP.

“Trained as a chemical engineer, Ashok was a champion for the professional development of engineers and was keen to enhance engagement between the engineering community and Parliament. This exciting fellowship offers an engineer a once in a lifetime opportunity to contribute their knowledge and expertise to Parliament, develop their communication skills and enhance their policy awareness in a unique setting. We look forward to welcoming the successful Fellow to Parliament.”

Applications to the Ashok Kumar Fellowship are open until 5 September 2021. The successful candidate will take up a three-month Fellowship with POST at a time suitable to both parties between January and October 2022.

Apply for the Ashok Kumar Fellowship online now. For more information on the eligibility criteria, the application pack and to read the briefing notes of previous Fellows, visit IChemE's website.

Read these blogs to find out what Ashok Kumar Fellows Akshay Deshmukh and Erin Johnson experienced in their Fellowships in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

The Ashok Kumar Fellowship has been re-established following its closure in 2018, which was due to a loss in financial support.


Ashok Kumar Fellowship

Materials Processing Institute

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST)


For more information please contact:

Rachael Fraser, Communications Executive, IChemE
t: +44 (0) 1788 534435

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

Lydia Harriss, Senior Physical Sciences Adviser, POST
t: +44 (0) 207 219 8380

What is chemical engineering?

Chemical, biochemical and process engineering is the application of science, maths 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. Oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, food and drink, synthetic fibres and clean drinking water are just some of the 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 support the development of chemical engineering professionals and provide connections to a powerful network of over 33,000 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 serving global steel and materials 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 celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2019.

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.

The Materials Processing Institute includes developments funded through Tees Valley Combined Authority, through the Local Growth Fund (Growth Deal).

For more information:

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST)

POST produces impartial, non-partisan, and peer-reviewed briefings, designed to make scientific research accessible to the UK Parliament. The briefings come in the form of POSTnotes and POSTbriefs. Timely and forward thinking, they cover the areas of biology and health, energy and environment, physical sciences and computing, and social sciences. 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.

More information: