Imperial College London

Alumnus scholarship donation to fund doctorate in Chemical Engineering

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Image of Dr Damian Cummins standing in a garden

Dr Damian Cummins (Department of Materials, 1974)

A generous donation from Materials alumnus Dr Damian Cummins (Department of Materials, 1974) will fund a PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering.

The Cummins Scholarship is a £187,500 fund which will support one PhD student for the duration of their doctoral studies. It will be available to one Black female student ordinarily resident within a country of Africa and will cover full tuition fees and allow a stipend for living expenses. The funding will be open to applications for the academic year commencing 2021-22. 

"The launch pad for my very interesting, varied and rewarding career was having a BSc and PhD from Imperial College.  This experience is one that I have long wanted to repay, and what better way than as a gift to the next generation.” Dr Damian Cummins

Inspired by global societal advancement and events of the last year and having obtained a BSc and PhD from Imperial College London in the days of free education, Dr Cummins has worked with the Advancement Team at Imperial College London to provide support for a transformative educational opportunity for the scholarship recipient.

Dr Cummins said: “The launch pad for my very interesting, varied and rewarding career was having a BSc and PhD from Imperial College.  This experience is one that I have long wanted to repay, and what better way than as a gift to the next generation.”

Dr Cummins completed his BSc in Metallurgy at Imperial, after which he was invited by Professor Bill Steen to join the John Percy Research Group to carry out a fully-funded Process Engineering PhD. He remembers his time at Imperial fondly, going to rock concerts in Hyde Park and driving the Royal School of Mines’ mascot vehicle, named Clementine.

After taking a six-month break to travel across Canada and the United States of America, Dr Cummins joined a chemical engineering contracting company where he doubled as a process engineer and metallurgist, initially working on the design of chlor-alkali and pharmaceutical plants. He then moved to the world of petrochemicals and joined an international contractor that specialised in the design and construction of steam crackers, the very large plants at the centre of all petrochemicals complexes. 

“This donation is a wonderful gift not just to the Department, but to the student whom it benefits, and we would like to give our thanks to Damian for his incredible generosity." Professor Nilay Shah Head of Department of Chemical Engineering

After seven years in this role, he joined another major international contractor whose main area of work was in oil and gas, oil refineries and power generation, by which time he was a Project Manager, then Project Director. He worked on projects all over the world, including Poland, the USA, Libya, Qatar, Holland, and finally in China. He settled in China for seven years after being head hunted by BASF to be their Project Director for the basic design, engineering, construction and opening of a large world-scale grassroots petrochemicals complex In Nanjing.

Dr Cummins added: “It is no exaggeration to say that my experience at Imperial enabled me to have a continuously developing career where I was able to see the world, working for and with people of so many different nationalities.”

Professor Nilay Shah, Head of Chemical Engineering at Imperial, said: “This donation is a wonderful gift not just to the Department, but to the student whom it benefits, and we would like to give our thanks to Damian for his incredible generosity. The scholarship is an important contribution to our goal of improving access to education and to the Department.”

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If you are interested in exploring philanthropy and engaging with the Faculty of Engineering, please contact Hugh Langford, Development Manager.

Reporter

Sara West

Sara West
Department of Chemical Engineering

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6607
Email: sara.west@imperial.ac.uk

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