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.

Fully Funded PhD Project: Neutron Spectrometry for Nuclear Fusion Environments

Sheffield Hallam University

This PhD project is sponsored by Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) and is an exciting opportunity to contribute to fusion research in the UK. The successful applicant will study methods of neutron detection in high-radiation fusion environments supported by Sheffield Hallam University. The student will work closely with the industrial partner throughout the project and will spend six months on site working with experts at CCFE at the beginning of the project.

In nuclear fusion environments, accurately monitoring the neutron flux and energy spectrum are crucial in determining fundamental properties relating to the operation of a fusion device. Since the neutron flux is so high, and the magnetic confinement fields are so intense, the use of electronics is limited. Hence, indirect neutron monitoring, such as the dosimetry foil activation method, is needed. This type of neutron detector consists of a number of foil samples made from different materials. Upon irradiation with neutrons, the foils become activated and emit characteristic gamma rays as the various radioisotopes undergo decay. By accurately measuring the energies and intensities of these gamma rays, the energy spectrum of incident neutrons can be calculated indirectly using ‘unfolding' methodologies. Despite this importance, many of these unfolding codes are not being actively developed/supported and none are optimised to the requirements for fusion systems.

The PhD project will comprise the following elements:

  • Reviewing current neutron spectrum unfolding methods (matrix inversion, least-square fitting, iterative, Monte Carlo, maximum entropy, and neural networks etc.);
  • Developing a modern neutron spectrum unfolding methodology and optimised activation detector system utitlising MCNP and Geant4 radiation transport codes;
  • Experimentally testing developed methods and detection systems on various sources of neutron radiation.

Experience in computer programming (C++, Fortran or Python) is necessary.

Experimental experience in radiation detection and measurement and use of Monte Carlo simulation software is advantageous.

Informal enquiries can be addressed to Dr Robin Smith at or Dr Chantal Nobs at

Full details: