Careers

PhD and MSc opportunities

PhD studentDepending on resources, we aim every year to have new PhD and MSc projects with several UK universities addressing plasma physics, materials science and fusion engineering associated with tokamaks, providing a range of exciting research opportunities.

The projects range from the theoretical, through computational modelling, to experimental studies. Most students are based at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, while some are based at their university. All have both a Culham and a university supervisor.

Typically starting each October, we run a broad range of PhD and MSc projects with about eight different university departments. Please check this page for updates on opportunities.


PhD Open Day at Culham, Wednesday 7 December 2016

On 7 December we will hold our annual PhD Open Day in partnership with the York Fusion Doctoral Training Network, at which there will be a range of talks highlighting current research needs for fusion. Representatives from a wide range of our partner universities will attend and be available for discussion of current and future research opportunities. Registration will open shortly at www.culhamphd.org.uk.


PhD, Uncertainty Quantification in Fusion Power Plant Design, University of Liverpool

Projects start in October 2017; application deadline: 31 January 2017

Culham Centre for Fusion Energy is one of Europe's leading nuclear research centres, closely collaborating with universities and industry to develop a European demonstration fusion power plant (DEMO), for construction in the 2030s. Central to the engineering and physics design of a new fusion device is an integrated operating point which respects the limitations placed on performance by all relevant plant systems and their interactions with one another. Such an operating point can be identified and optimised using a systems code. However, the nature of fusion research and the design of new conceptual facilities is that extrapolation beyond current experimental databases (for the physics basis) and development of new technology must be assumed. The nominal operating point is therefore subject to considerable uncertainty. Current methods of developing and testing fusion plant operating points at CCFE are very far from optimised and there is not a good process for evaluation of the scenarios we produce, and although in-house tools exist to generate performance uncertainties there is limited analysis.

The Institute for Risk and Uncertainty at the University of Liverpool develops and maintains the general purpose software for uncertainty quantification COSSAN-X and OpenCossan (see http://www.cossan.co.uk/). They have a long standing experience in quantifying, mitigating and managing risks and uncertainty in many fields.

This PhD project will combine the experience concerning power plant design based at CCFE with the knowledge about uncertainty quantification from Liverpool. The aim is to develop workflows to assess the uncertainty related to DEMO operating point and use the tools and workflows to develop robust nominal and back-up operating scenarios to increase confidence in the successful creation of such devices. In addition, the student will develop novel and efficient simulation and parallelisation strategies to reduce the computational cost of the stochastic analysis. The student will therefore be able to contribute significantly to the success of the DEMO project by ensuring the consistency and realism of the assumptions underpinning the design.

More information and application details: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/risk-and-uncertainty-cdt/studentships/uq_fusionphd/


DPhil opportunities in plasma physics at the University of Oxford

Projects start in October 2017; application deadline: 20 January 2017

The Plasma Theory Group at the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics, University of Oxford, offers a number of opportunities for DPhil research in fusion plasma. All projects (some of which have a strong experimental component) are jointly supervised by Oxford faculty members and CCFE researchers. For project descriptions and how to apply, see http://www-thphys.physics.ox.ac.uk/research/plasma/dphil17.html

The University of Oxford also offers a programme of graduate-level courses in plasma theory within its Master Course in Mathematical and Theoretical Physics (these courses are available to all DPhil students, but there is also a stand-alone one-year MSc degree) and within the Oxford-Warwick-Imperial Centre for Postgraduate Training in Plasma Physics and High Energy Density Science.