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Research Studentship in Crystal Plasticity Modelling

Research Studentship in Crystal Plasticity Modelling

Project: Materials Modelling for Fusion Energy

3.5-year DPhil (PhD) studentship starting October 2022


Professor Edmund Tarleton and Dr Chris Hardie (UKAEA)

Fusion has the potential to provide a new source of unlimited energy and is now entering a critical and exciting phase of engineering delivery. This project is a collaboration between the University of Oxford and UKAEA (UK Atomic Energy Authority), who hold the world record for fusion power production. UKAEA are advancing a project called STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production), the first UK prototype powerplant. The materials engineering challenges are significant due to the extreme conditions inside the reactor. You will be part of a team modelling materials for fusion. We are interested in how metals deform and break, based on the underlying physics. This requires writing computer code to solve equations, running computer simulations, and comparing predictions with experiments to validate the model. The models we are developing with UKAEA will feed into the design of a new fusion reactor with the aim of making fusion energy a reality.

This project is part of a wider effort to address the significant lack of relevant data on the materials response to yet unchartered extreme fusion environments. Getting this data is impossible until the first generation of fusion reactors are operational. This DPhil project is part of a collaboration between UKAEA and Oxford University and will develop predictive models to provide engineering relevant material property predictions throughout service. This will provide a degree of confidence to structural integrity assessments in the design phases and critically provide a means of calibration/validation through service by the testing of surveillance samples.


This studentship is open to Home and Overseas students (full award –fees plus stipend).  

Award Value

Course fees will be covered at the level set for UK and overseas students. The stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) is c. £16,062 p.a. for the first year, and at least this amount for a further two and a half years.

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • A first class, or strong upper second class undergraduate degree with honours in Engineering or related discipline relevant for the proposed area of research, such as Materials, Physics, Computer Science or Applied Mathematics
  • Ability to undertake scientific programming (e.g. in Fortran, Matlab, or Python)
  • Good written and spoken English communication skills

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Interest in or experience of the Finite Element Method
  • Interest in or experience of nuclear materials challenges

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Professor Edmund Tarleton ( and Dr Chris Hardie (

Candidates must submit a graduate application form and are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria. Details are available on the course page of the University website. Please quote 22ENGSMM_ET in all correspondence and in your graduate application.

Application deadline: 27 May 2022

Start date: October 2022