Chemical Engineering PhD student awarded Fellowship in UK Parliament


Erin Johnson, Ashok Kumar Fellow 2017

Erin Johnson, a postgraduate student at Imperial has been awarded the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Ashok Kumar Fellowship 2017

Congratulations to PhD student Erin Johnson who was awarded the IChemE Ashok Kumar Fellowship 2017!

I was attracted to this opportunity so I could use my chemical engineering mindset to benefit society in an unusual way.

– Erin Johnson

Ashok Kumar Fellow 2017

The Fellowship is jointly funded by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and the North-East England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) and awarded annually to a graduate chemical engineer working in research. 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 MP’s on a relevant subject. 

The Fellowship was created following the sudden death of Ashok Kumar, a Fellow of IChemE and Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East, UK, in 2010. At the time he was the only Chartered Chemical Engineer in the UK House of Commons. 

Erin decided to study chemical engineering because she was passionate about sustainable energy, and wanted to help address the challenges of climate change. She graduated with a Masters in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London in 2010, and was accepted into National Grid’s graduate programme in the same year, spending five years with the organisation working in various different areas.

Erin enrolled back into Imperial College in 2015 to study for her PhD at the Centre for Process Systems Engineering. Her doctorate looks to establish how green gas should be deployed in the UK to maximise environmental benefits and minimise cost. 

Erin, who will start the Fellowship at POST in a few months time, said: 

“The Ashok Kumar Fellowship is a fantastic chance to build bridges between industry, academic research and politics. I was attracted to this opportunity so I could use my chemical engineering mindset to benefit society in an unusual way. 

“It is my ambition to help shape evidence-based policy in energy and the environment. I hope to gain an understanding of the parliamentary process and see how researchers and industry experts can help parliamentarians develop the best policies. 

“I am honoured to be awarded the Ashok Kumar Fellowship for 2017. Thank you to POST, NEPIC and IChemE for giving me this opportunity. I’m looking forward to becoming a member of the POST team and figuring out how to communicate complex STEM issues to new audiences.”

Article based on materials provided by the Institution of Chemical Engineers. See original article here


Michael Panagopulos

Michael Panagopulos
Department of Chemical Engineering

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