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Senior Materials Engineer (non-metallics)

Senior Materials Engineer (non-metallics)

Company Description

By 2050, the planet could be using twice as much electricity compared to today. Are you interested in contributing and helping to shape the future of the world’s energy? If so, read on.

Fusion, the process that powers the Sun and Stars, is one of the most promising options for generating the cleaner, carbon-free energy that our world badly needs. UKAEA are at the forefront of realising energy from fusion, working with industry and research partners to deliver the ground-breaking developments that will underpin tomorrow's fusion power stations with the aim of bringing fusion electricity to the grid.

As we work towards our mission and goals, UKAEA has devised values that capture the spirit of how we work. These values include being: Innovative, Committed, Trusted and Collaborative.

Job Description

Who are we looking for?

We are seeking to recruit a Senior Materials Engineer (non-metallics) to work within our Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) team who are dedicated to the development and enhancement of nuclear materials, ranging from low to high technology readiness level (TRL), including metals, ceramic-composites, coatings, multimaterials and interfaces. The team carry out a number of activities such as microstructural design, evaluation of the impact on properties by novel joining at interfaces and combinatorial load impact assessment under irradiation to name but a few.

Working as part of this team, you will be exposed to the cutting-edge of materials technology, with fantastic opportunities to develop international recognition for efforts to advance materials performance in a fusion environment. We would expect you to be able to accommodate uncertainty and changing requirements as the programme (and material requirements) evolve. 

If you are collaborative and team-centered in your approach, with experience of articulating complex technical information to both specialist and non-specialist audiences within tight timescales at a high quality standard, this may be the perfect opportunity for you. You will be expected to demonstrate effective leadership of research projects and programmes, comfortable to recruit, develop and mentor a team of direct reports.

What will you be responsible for?

  • Leading R&D of non-metallic materials to support the engineering and operational requirements of future commercial fusion plants. This will include coordinating technical programmes, conducting literature reviews and developing technical reports and presentations.
  • Coordinating and interfacing with multi-disciplinary engineering design teams and working with industry to provide suitable quality non-metallic components (arranging specimen/data procurement, defining the scope of work, funding and resources for sample preparation, testing, modelling).
  • Developing and executing research and projects collaboratively with internal stakeholders, industry and academia. 
  • Taking responsibility for research and development of non-metallic materials. This may include ceramics, cermets, composites or other non-metallic systems.
  • Managing a small team of material scientists and engineers, providing research direction and allocating them to projects. Managing teams during experiments or modelling exercises.

International travel may be expected, along with working with radioactive materials or visiting beamline facilities.

Applications are welcomed from those who may not demonstrate sufficient experience at this grade, and as part of the interview process, may be considered for a role at an alternate grade instead.


Essential skills, experience and competence required

  • Non metallics materials expertise (ideally of composite materials, but can also include knowledge more broadly across ceramics and cermets).
  • Able to conduct and interpret microstructural analysis /design / modelling.
  • Proficient at mechanical testing (inc. tensile & bend testing).
  • Understanding of composite fabrication & processing.
  • Ability to work well within a team and able to readily articulate complex technical information to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • A degree or equivalent experience in materials science, mathematics, physics, chemistry or related and relevant subject.

Desirable skills, experience and competence

  • Prior experience of materials processing OR development OR analysis OR modelling OR qualification for an engineering application.
  • A good understanding of nuclear environments and irradiation damage.
  • Experience of high-resolution analytical instruments (XRF, TEM, STEM etc.) OR experience with Fortran / C# /FEA type models OR experience in engineering design codes.
  • Experience of using nano-scale mechanical testing (e.g. cantilevers, nano indentation) and more broadly post-irradiation examination techniques.
  • A strong publication track-record.
  • Experience in preparing funding grant applications.
  • A PhD in materials science or related area.


Additional Information

What we offer

  • A competitive salary  
  • A culture committed to being fully inclusive, supported by a Being Inclusive Strategy and Inclusion Ambassadors 
  • An Employee Assistance Programme and trained Mental Health First Aiders, with a full calendar of health and wellbeing initiatives 
  • Flexible working options including family friendly policies  
  • Emergency leave (paid) 
  • 30.5 days annual leave increased with length of service (including privilege days and 3 days between Christmas and New Year) plus bank holidays
  • Wide range of career development opportunities (e.g professional registration, internal promotions, coaching and mentoring programme)  
  • Outstanding defined benefit pension scheme  
  • Annual corporate bonus scheme  
  • Relocation allowance (if eligible) 

We welcome applications from under-represented groups, particularly from individuals from black and other ethnic minority backgrounds, including nationality and citizenship, people with disabilities, (visible and hidden) and women. The Executive team with support from our EDI ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion’ (EDI) partner and Inclusion Ambassadors, is actively promoting EDI and taking steps to increase the diversity of our people through reinforcing best practice in recruitment and selection, and revaluating approaches where it is clear we can remove barriers to success. We are easily accessible by car and are a 10-minute walk from Culham Railway Station in Oxfordshire.

Please be advised that this vacancy is due to close on 3/01/2022 . We may close earlier than this date if large or sufficient numbers of applications are received.

Please note all employees working at the UK Atomic Energy Authority will be required to complete an online Disclosure Certificate application as part of their clearance – The Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks will show the details of all current criminal convictions (convictions considered unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) or will confirm that there are no such convictions.

Materials (MRF)
Type of Employment
£49,396 to £52,293 (inclusive of MPP) + excellent benefits including outstanding pension
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