Kumar award-wining postgrad briefs MPs on chemical threat
12 Mar 2019
Jeni Spragg, the Leeds university winner of the Ashok Kumar Fellowship, has presented her report on chemical weapons policy to parliamentarians.
The bioenergy student interviewed more than 20 experts from government, thinks tanks and academia for her report to policymakers and members of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee a taster of her findings at a recent meeting chaired by Stephen Metcalfe MP.
Her full report, Chemical Weapons, outlined the weapons and their effects on human health and the environment. It includes an overview of chemical defence in the UK, including the measures in place to prevent, respond to and recover from attacks
It follows the Government decision to deploy an extra £11 million on funding against threats following the Salisbury Novichok incidents in which former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and several others were poisoned.
Said Sprag: “It really opened my eyes to the important role and expertise that chemical engineers, and others with STEM expertise, can play to help MPs make evidence-based decisions on policy issues. I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned through the Ashok Kumar Fellowship.”
The Ashok Kumar Fellowship, supported by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and the UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) funded Spragg’s work in Parliament.
Dr Lorna Christie, Physical Sciences and IT Adviser, POST said: “Working alongside Jeni for three months on this timely and interesting topic has been a pleasure. Jeni used her academic rigour to review evidence in the area and honed her science communication skills in writing her research up in an accessible way.
POST fellowships are an excellent way for PhD students to experience first-hand how parliament works and develop skills that they can carry with them in their future career.”
IChemE director for policy and publications Claudia Flavell-While,added that the research provided an excellent example of the valuable expertise of chemical, biochemical and process engineers in providing solutions to national policy issues on contentious topics.