31 March 2010

IChemE and NEPIC sponsor Ashok Kumar fellowship


IChemE and NEPIC (the North East of England Process Industry Cluster) have agreed to sponsor a new fellowship post, in memory of the late Ashok Kumar MP.

The launch of the Ashok Kumar commemorative fellowship was announced yesterday by the speaker of the UK parliament, John Bercow MP at a celebration of Dr Kumar’s life, attended by family, friends and colleagues.

Politicians from all parties were in attendance, including secretary of state for the environment, Hilary Benn MP, for whom Kumar – the only chemical engineer to hold a seat in the House of Commons - had worked as parliamentary private secretary up until his death.

Kumar died suddenly on 16 March 2010 at the age of 53. He was a stalwart supporter of the chemical and process industries, particularly those in the North East of England close to the Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency he represented.

The annual doctoral fellowship will be based in the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and will enable a succession of chemical engineers to gain experience in the world of parliament, exploring ways in which chemical and process engineering can support policy makers and deliver benefits for wider society.

IChemE’s director of policy, Andrew Furlong, says: “IChemE is delighted to support the fellowship that has been created in Ashok’s memory. It will help to improve political understanding of the value of engineering and vice versa. This is a fitting tribute and I know that Ashok would have approved.

“Ashok was not only a fighter and an outstanding constituency member of parliament, he was also a good friend and his presence will be sorely missed. He had many special qualities; not least that in a political world dominated by lawyers and economists he was fiercely proud of his technical background and he remained a chemical engineer until the day he died.”

Stan Higgins, NEPIC ceo, says: “Ashok was one of too few parliamentarians to properly understand science and technology. He worked very closely with NEPIC as he understood that industrial and technology clusters are key to economic development. We are proud to co-sponsor this scholarship with the hope that it will encourage more scientists and engineers to consider a parliamentary career to help steer the technological society of the future.”

For more information about the Ashok Kumar commemorative fellowship contact Andrew Furlong.

Notes to Editors

  1. For further media information, interviews and photography please contact:

    Matt Stalker, Media and External Relations, IChemE
    tel: 01788 534455
    email: mstalker@icheme.org

  2. About chemical engineers

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

  3. About IChemE

    IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers) is the hub for chemical, biochemical and process engineering professionals worldwide. With a growing global membership of some 30,000, the Institution is at the heart of the process community, promoting competence and a commitment to best practice, advancing the discipline for the benefit of society, encouraging young people in science and engineering and supporting the professional development of its members. For more information, visit www.icheme.org

My IChemE

IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).