Chief Operating Officer

Overview of Responsibilities

What will you be responsible for?

An excellent opportunity to shape the future of fusion research in the largest fusion organisation in the world! UKAEA have an exciting opportunity for a World class Operations leader to join the Executive Leadership Team and lead on UKAEA operations across all it sites and its portfolio of activities.  You will be a a visible and accessible member of the senior leadership team to provide strategic and operational leadership across UKAEA to ensure that the UKAEA is safe, secure, resilient and compliant. In the near future UKAEA will see the transfer of JET to a decommissioning and repurposing programme; the further maturity of the UK Fusion Strategy; the greater development as Culham as a Fusion cluster; more UKAEA operated sites; more locations for UKAEA staff and the UK Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) programme further established with concomitant restructuring of the people, equipment, facilities and capabilities. The COO will lead on the restructuring, the establishment of new divisions and Programmes and the cultural change. The COO is empowered and visible both internally and externally, with shared responsibility for ensuring that the UKAEA operates within its budgets, delivers its mission and government roles, operates within its delegations and for ensuring future income streams for the UKAEA.

This role must deliver:

  • The safe, secure and compliant delivery of the operation of UKAEA;
  • Governance of UKAEA’s portfolio of programme and projects;
  • Well managed people resourcing for long- and short-term goals;
  • A highly motivated, highly capable and high performing diverse and inclusive workforce;
  • Value for money across the operation from process improvements to external contractors and agency supplied workers;
  • Capability planning for long term goals (people, facilities and processes;
  • Effective working relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

What will you be responsible for?

Working with CEO and CFO/CTO to:

  • manage the affairs of the UKAEA representing the wider UKAEA interests at the UKAEA Board meetings and Board sub-committees such as Board Audit Committee;
  • develop and implement the long-term strategy for UKAEA in line with BEIS and Financial requirements/constraints; 
  • influence and deliver on the UKAEA’s mission and goals.

The COO directly manages 8 direct reports, c1200 employees and c500 contractors: the majority of UKAEA total staff compliment and total budget of £100Mpa and has direct accountability for:

  • the successful delivery of UKAEA’s largest facility JET – the world’s largest and most capable fusion facility and its programme of scientific research for the European fusion community;
  • UKAEA’s Engineering functions from engineering delivery to assurance;
  • safety, security, quality and business reliance including crisis management;
  • UKAEA’s environmental strategy and performance;
  • IT services including cyber security;
  • strategic leadership of UKAEA’s People function and the delivery of a high performing workforce;
  • UKAEA Portfolio, Programme and Project management function;
  • UKAEA’s Inclusion and well-being strategies and diversity targets;
  • Internal communications on matters of site operations;
  • the safety, security, accessibility and operational effectiveness of UKAEA’s sites including power, site industrial facilities, M&E assets, and waste management;
  • operational risk management, regulatory procedures and asset management oversight;
  • the ongoing development of UKAEA’s apprentice college and apprentice and graduate programmes.
£100,000 to £130,000 + excellent benefits including outstanding pension
People (HR)
Type of Employment

Additional Information

What we offer

Our comprehensive benefits package includes a vibrant culture committed to being fully inclusive, an Employee Assistance Programme and trained Mental Health First Aiders, Flexible working options including family friendly policies, Emergency paid leave, Generous annual leave allowance (30.5 days) increased with length of service, wide range of career development opportunities, outstanding defined benefit pension scheme; Corporate bonus scheme and a 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 and women. The Executive team with support from our ‘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.

Please be advised that this vacancy is due to close on 02/10/2022 . 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 or will confirm that there are no such convictions.

Note for applicants who are applying for employment with UKAEA either from outside the United Kingdom or who have spent time outside the United Kingdom in the last five years. Please visit If the country you are resident in or have resided in is not listed on this website or that the UK Government is not aware of how to obtain a criminal records check from that state then we are unable to process your application.

current opportunities

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What can I expect from the application process at UKAEA?

Once you have submitted a formal application via our website, all CVs will be reviewed shortly after the closing date of the advert.

  • Submit online application

  • Phone interview

  • Face-to-face or virtual interview

  • Other assessments

Company Description

By 2050, the planet could be using twice as much electricity compared to today. Are you interested in contributing 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.

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