Vacancies (Updated July 2019)


PhD Opportunities: Materials for Zero Carbon Energy Systems, including enhanced stipend of up to £17,000 per year

The UK has recently become the first major economy to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions, aiming to achieve this by 2050. To support this ambition, nuclear energy systems are very likely to be required. This will involve extending the lifetime of current nuclear reactors and development of new types of nuclear energy systems, including nuclear fusion.

Nuclear energy systems experience extremes of temperature, pressure and irradiation; materials within the reactor must be capable of surviving such physical conditions. Materials for nuclear energy systems is a significant research topic in the UK and worldwide, with University of Bristol (UoB) having a long track record in this area.

PhD opportunities are available, involving developing new materials for nuclear energy systems and improving understanding and performance of existing materials. There is sufficient flexibility within the UoB research programme to carry out both modelling and experimental work. There is also opportunity for you to design, plan and then deliver experiments at central X-ray and neutron facilities in the UK and internationally. Your research work may result in significant industrial benefit – helping towards the UK’s zero carbon aims.

You will join the Solid Mechanics Research Group (SMRG) at UoB, which currently has eight academic staff and approximately twenty researchers (postdoctoral staff and research students). SMRG has substantial laboratory capabilities at Bristol, including the support of two full-time technicians. You will join a highly dynamic and well-resourced research group; you will receive excellent support for technical training, personal development and opportunities to attend international conferences.

UoB is also a partner in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy Futures, led by Imperial College. Some of the projects can be incorporated into the CDT if desired; compared to a normal 3.5 year PhD, the CDT is 4 years in duration, with much of the first year focusing on taught courses and personal/professional development.

Please contact Professor Chris Truman ( or Dr Mahmoud Mostafavi ( with enquiries.


PhD Project: Multi-scale mechanical stress in nuclear fuel cladding (Including enhanced stipend of £18,000 per year)

Description: Intergranular stress corrosion cracking (IGSCC) is an issue of interest in respect of the long-term storage of irradiated (spent) nuclear fuel from the UK’s Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) nuclear power plants. AGR fuel cladding is stainless steel; in order to underpin the long-term storage of this fuel underwater in purpose-built storage ponds, it is necessary to develop a better understanding of the influence of mechanical stress on IGSCC. This will be done by using a number of different methods and equipment, including well-equipped residual stress and microstructural characterisation laboratories at Bristol, as well as UK and international X-ray and neutron user facilities. Depending on the outcome of the experimental work, there may be opportunities to help develop stress measurement technology for deployment on real samples of spent fuel at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria.

Sponsor(s): Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and National Nuclear Laboratory.

Please contact Dr Harry Coules ( with enquiries.





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