Kumar Fellowship winner to advise Parliament on chemical weapons
18 Sep 2018
Postgraduate engineer Jennifer Spragg is to advise Parliament on chemical weapons issues after winning one of the UK’s top science fellowships.
She is this year’s winner of the Ashok Kumar Fellowship 2018, awarded by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and the UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST).
Her three-month fellowship provides the winning graduate chemical engineer working in research to work at POST and produce a parliamentary briefing note for MPs on a relevant subject.
Spragg, who starts work in November, will be reporting to members on the issue of chemical weapons.
This coincides with the announcement by the Government of a £48 million investment in a new Chemical Weapons Defence Centre and the re-evaluation of its chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear capability as part of its Modernising Defence Programme.
Speaking after her win, Spragg said: “I’m delighted to be awarded the Ashok Kumar Fellowship and work with experts in academia and parliament. One of things I most enjoy about chemical engineering is the opportunity to tackle societal challenges through an understanding of technical aspects, alongside commercial and social considerations.
“The Ashok Kumar Fellowship is a fantastic example of how the expertise of chemical engineers can help provide important information that will allow policymakers to make evidence-based decisions.”
Spragg graduated with a Masters degree in chemical engineering at the University of Bath, during which she completed an industrial placement at BP.
Her briefing will provide MPs and Peers with an introduction to chemical weapons – a topic which has featured prominently in parliamentary work
Dr Lydia Harriss, senior physical sciences advisor, POST
After graduation, she returned to BP for a year at the CATS onshore gas terminal in Teesside. She is presently working on her doctorate at the University of Leeds, examining novel process designs for extracting hydrogen from bioenergy resources to be used as a renewable energy source.
Senior physical sciences advisor at POST, Dr Lydia Harriss said: “We’re really pleased that Jennifer will be joining POST. Her briefing will provide MPs and Peers with an introduction to chemical weapons – a topic which has featured prominently in parliamentary work this year.
“Jennifer’s research experience and chemical engineering background puts her in a great position to lead this piece of work and to ensure that it draws on a wide range of expertise from across the research community.”
The Ashok Kumar Fellowship was created in memory of Ashok Kumar, a Fellow of IChemE and Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East, UK, who died suddenly in 2010. At the time of his death he was the only chartered chemical engineer in the House of Commons.