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.



Simulation of evolving thermal conductivity in materials for nuclear fusion

Fully funded PhD studentship (3 year) in Engineering Department, Lancaster University

  • Funding: Annual tax-free stipend of £14,777 (which will increment yearly)
  • Hours: Full Time
  • Eligibility: UK and EU Students



This project will employ advanced atomistic simulation methods to understand how the thermal conductivity of materials used in fusion reactors change due to irradiation.


Nuclear fusion is one of the most promising options for generating large amounts of carbon-free energy. The thermal conductivity is a crucial parameter in the development of key fusion reactor systems, including the plasma facing components, where rapid heat removal is essential and the breeder blanket region where transfer of heat to the coolant will dictate electrical conversion efficiency. Experimental determination of the thermal conductivity under reactor conditions is difficult due to the lack of appropriate facilities, therefore, the use of computer simulation is necessary.

This project will build on previous work to examine how the introduction of defects during reactor operation will impact the macroscopic thermal conductivity of materials using atomistic simulation, particularly non-equilibrium molecular dynamics (NEMD). In particular, you will investigate tungsten that will be used in the diverter and lithium ceramics that will facilitate tritium breeding. The data you generate during this project will be input into higher level multi-physics models, thereby improving our understanding of the in-reactor environment and will be used in the design and construction of future reactors.

The project will involve extensive collaboration with the world-leading Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in Oxfordshire with potential to spend extended periods of time working at CCFE.


You should have or expect to obtain soon at least a 2:1 in Physics, Chemistry, Engineering or a related discipline. You should have excellent technical abilities and the desire to work in a multidisciplinary environment.

Application details

Please apply online via the University Postgraduate Admissions Portal with:

  • A CV (2 pages maximum)
  • Cover letter
  • University grade transcripts (where available)

You should clearly state on your application that you are applying for a funded PhD opportunity on “Simulation of evolving thermal conductivity in materials for nuclear fusion”.

Contact us

We very much welcome informal queries about this opportunity, which should be directed to Dr. Samuel Murphy (