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Engineer awarded fellowship in UK Parliament

23 January 2014

Wendy Carr, a postgraduate engineering student at Newcastle University, UK, has been awarded the Ashok Kumar Commemorative Fellowship for 2014.

The Ashok Kumar Commemorative Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for one successful graduate each year, from anywhere in the world, to spend three months working at the UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST). The Fellowship is jointly funded by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and the North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC).

Ashok Kumar, a Fellow of IChemE and Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East, UK, was the only serving chemical engineer in UK parliament at the time of his sudden death in 2010.

Wendy, who is from Northumberland, UK, is currently undertaking an Engineering Doctorate in the Biopharmaceutical Bioprocessing Technology Centre at Newcastle University, UK. She will be the third person to hold The Ashok Kumar Commemorative Fellowship since it was established in 2010. Previous postgraduates to receive the Fellowship include Iwan Roberts and James Lawrence.

Wendy said: “I am delighted to have been chosen as the recipient of this year’s Ashok Kumar Commemorative Fellowship and I am looking forward to joining the team at POST.”

Dr Lydia Harriss, physical sciences and ICT adviser at Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) said: “Doctoral fellows make a huge contribution to POST. Within the space of three months they thoroughly research a science and technology topic, explore the associated policy issues, and write a peer-reviewed briefing document for MPs and Peers.

“It’s impressive to see how readily they adapt to working at the UK Parliament and interacting with leading academics and policy makers. We really appreciate the energy, enthusiasm and fresh perspective that they bring, and very much look forward to welcoming Wendy to the team.”

Dr Stan Higgins, chief executive of the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC), said: “As a colleague and friend of Ashok, I am sure he would have been proud of the work of the Ashok Kumar scholars working with POST.

“Here in the North East, where Ashok had his constituency, and also the location of the industrial cluster that he so actively promoted, we are pleased to see that this year’s Ashok Kumar Fellow is currently working at one of our region’s universities and also doing a PhD on a topic of significant practical interest to a number of our cluster members – pharmaceutical plant cleaning.”

“Wendy Carr is passionate about explaining complicated scientific issues to non-scientists and I am sure that this Fellowship will help in her future career choices.”

Dr Alana Collis, IChemE policy lead, said: “Wendy demonstrated an understanding that chemical engineers must be able to clearly communicate with the public and articulate complex information to policy- and decision-makers.

“IChemE’s technical strategy, Chemical Engineering Matters states that the profession must be able to engage constructively with opinion formers based on sound science and best engineering practice. Through Ashok’s Fellowship, young chemical engineers like Wendy are being given the opportunity to do this and to articulate the ways in which the profession benefits society.”

Applications are now being invited for the next Ashok Kumar Fellowship in 2015. The closing date for applications is 31 October 2014. Full details, including eligibility and an application form, are available from IChemE’s website.

For more information, please contact:

Tony Osborne,
Tel:  +44 (0)1788 534454 / +44 (0)7802 834459
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