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Sandy Knowles of University of Birmingham

Sandy Knowles of University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham materials scientist Sandy Knowles – a close collaborator of Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and a previous EUROfusion Researcher Grant holder – has been awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship.

The fellowship scheme from UK Research & Innovation invests in 90 outstanding individuals across the UK to support the country’s future leaders of innovation.

Sandy’s project ‘Bcc-superalloys: Engineering Resilience to Extreme Environments’ will develop materials for advanced nuclear applications and gas turbines.

The fellowship award represents £1.2m over four years and as well as Sandy it will provide for two postdoctoral researchers, associated PhD students one of which is part-supported by CCFE, equipment, and secondments including one at CCFE.

His UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship supports the UK government’s drive for technologies to commercialise fusion energy and Generation-IV fission (SMRs, AMRs), as well as aerospace innovation.

The novel alloys being developed target higher temperature capability and irradiation tolerance, which are needed to enable improvements in performance and efficiency.

In addition to a continued partnership with CCFE/UKAEA, the programme has close industrial partnerships with TIMET and Rolls Royce and international exchanges with ANSTO Sydney, Max Planck Düsseldorf and ETH Zurich.

Sandy said: “The UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship is a hugely exciting opportunity that supports not just me but an entire research team to address the critical need for game-changing materials capability within the extreme environments of fusion and Generation IV fission reactors, as well as aerospace gas turbines.”

Full details of the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships:


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