Career profiles

Career profile - Engineering Group Leader

“I enjoy the cultural side of CCFE where you get to work with people from Europe and around the world.”


Degree/Background

MSc in High Power Radio Frequency Science and Engineering
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
HNC in Electrical and Electronic Engineering

What was your career path and how did you come to work at CCFE?

I started my career at Torness Power Station in Scotland where I worked as a technician in the computer construction team, which was responsible for, on behalf of the South of Scotland Electricity Board, the construction and setting to work of the centralised control and data processing computers for the complete power station.

I was then seconded to Culham, and later took on a full time position, where I worked as a technician in the Ion Cyclotron Resonant Heating (ICRH) Group on JET. Completing my degree studies while continuing to work full time, I gained valuable experience and knowledge and was promoted to an engineer within the group.

I became ICRH Operations Manager, responsible for ensuring that the ICRH 23-57MHz, 32MW plant was available and operational for the experiments requested by the different European research establishments. In addition to these operational responsibilities I was also responsible, during shutdowns, when the tokamak was not being used, for the upgrade and enhancement projects on the ICRH system. I then became the ICRH Group Leader.

What is your current role?

I am currently the ICRH Group Leader, where I lead and manage the ICRH group in the operation, upgrading and commissioning of the JET ICRH generator system and the RF High Voltage power supplies. I enjoy working on the research and projects which involves liaising with physicists, engineers and technicians from around the world.

I am a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and also a Chartered Engineer. I am the scheme manager for the IET accredited Professional Management Scheme, helping engineers and technicians gain their professional registration.

I also champion the CCFE Mentoring Programme, which helps people develop either personally or with their career.

Why do you enjoy working in fusion research?

It is great to be part of a world-leading project which will hopefully provide a solution to the world's energy needs of the future.

I enjoy meeting different scientists, engineers and technicians from around the world and discussing the issues which affect the fusion community as a whole.

Describe your experience of working at CCFE.

The work is very varied in that I can be writing a paper, or managing/leading large projects, or operating a 32MW RF system, or designing, installing and commissioning equipment, or even getting my hands dirty when I repair faults. Where else could you get such a large variety of work?

CCFE have provided the support and help I have needed to get me where I am today.

What do you like about working at CCFE?

I enjoy the cultural side of CCFE where you get to work with people from Europe and around the world. It is nice to be able to attend conferences where you learn about the research which is currently being undertaken and participate in projects which involve different research associations. I enjoy helping people to develop so that they can meet their goals and ambitions and CCFE gives me this opportunity.

How does CCFE encourage career development?

CCFE provide training and support for career development through the Professional Development Scheme, the Mentoring Programme and annual appraisals. If you are aware of what you want in your career development and it is within the scope of CCFE then the support and help is available.