UKAEA Chair in Qualification for Fusion

Job Description

Do you want to join the UK’s national fusion laboratory and one of the UK’s leading universities to answer some of the most complex and exciting challenges in engineering and technology?
UKAEA and the University of Sheffield are funding a professorship, with the aim of developing novel approaches to the prediction of fusion technology performance.
The global level of public and private investment in fusion energy has grown exponentially over recent years to over £6bn, driven by both significant advances in fusion science and engineering and a growing awareness of the urgent need for reliable large scale and low carbon energy. At least 40 private fusion companies are proposing to design and build commercially relevant demonstration fusion plants in the coming decades and UK government support is no less ambitious. With this comes unprecedented opportunities for supporting research and innovation.
These first-of-a-kind fusion devices are likely to be among the most complex machines ever built and will face unprecedented levels of uncertainty in their lifetime and performance, due to the extremes of temperature, radiation, magnetic fields, and manifold other environmental factors imposed on their materials and components. Many of the technologies used will not be able to be tested under representative conditions in advance, as these conditions can only be produced by fusion reactions themselves, and so conventional methods for describing readiness levels or carrying out validation, verification, and qualification will not apply.
Understanding this complexity and overcoming this uncertainty will be essential to qualify these plants for operation and to build sufficient confidence in their performance for investment and commercialisation, as will defining the frameworks used to do so. This task will require significant volumes of new fundamental research, building on and drawing from existing and emerging experience in similarly complex and regulated fields, harnessing the promise of new research into techniques for validation and verification using combined digital simulation and physical testing, and even re-considering the limits of what can be expected to be known about first-of-a-kind technologies of this kind.
Addressing the challenges of qualification for fusion will be the core focus of the role and at least half of your time is expected to be in this area, but the role will also come with a positive encouragement to actively and imaginatively push into adjacent areas of research and draw solutions and ideas from the widest range of sectors, alongside contributing to the University through teaching and leadership as part of its vibrant academic community. We envisage that this arrangement will provide the perfect opportunity for an individual who will address this exciting new field in their own way while also building a network of others across academia and industry who will attack similar problems in different ways, to achieve tangible impact and change.

What We Offer:

● 41 days annual leave (including closure days and Bank Holidays), with the possibility to purchase up to ten additional days.
● Up to 5 days of paid time off to cover emergency caring responsibilities.
● A commitment to work life balance including, flexible working opportunities and hybrid working where possible.
● A highly competitive pension scheme.
● Discounts at participating shops and cinemas, and a cycle to work scheme.
● A commitment to your development, with programmes, learning modules and mentoring schemes.
● An inclusive and diverse workplace.
● A commitment to your wellbeing, with confidential emotional support, support for those going through the menopause, experiencing fertility treatment and having a baby, paid leave for IVF treatment and more.
Further information can be found at

We are committed to exploring flexible working opportunities which benefit the individual and University.

We build teams of people from different heritages and lifestyles from across the world, whose talent and contributions complement each other to greatest effect. We believe diversity in all its forms delivers greater impact through research, teaching and student experience.

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