Director of Science and Technology

Overview of Responsibilities

Who are we looking for?

As the Director of Science and Technology you will be at the heart of the development and delivery of a genuine world first. You will be motivated by making a lasting difference at the national and global level, and by delivering difficult challenges, translating ideas into real outcomes – in this case an entirely new energy source and the industrial capability to take that technology forward. The key behaviours and competencies required are:

  • Handling ambiguity, uncertainty and high levels of complexity
  • Thriving in finding a way through complex situations
  • Engaging senior stakeholders, including government Ministers and external investors, in a credible and convincing way
  • Confidence and convincing engagement with a range of audiences, including the ability to manage media engagements with questioning and to convey complex technical issues simply
  • Ability to present authoritatively at international conferences
  • Positivity and enthusiasm, and ability to foster that spirit within the team
  • Excellent written communication skills

Director of Science and Technology Responsibilities

Plasma physics and innovative technology is essential for delivering success on STEP.  Without a machine that supports a viable plasma we have no path to commercial success, and in a genuine first-of-a-kind endeavour it is essential to drive clarity and pace in identifying and delivering technologies that help balance the multiple competing requirements of the design and, through delivering, help build fusion capability in industry.  The Director of Science and Technology (DS&T) is pivotal to these aims. Key responsibilities include:

  • Lead the physics design of the STEP Prototype Plant
  • Lead the development and delivery of Technology Roadmaps for all aspects of the Power Plant, ensuring the key technologies are rapidly and progressively demonstrated through physical testing and modelling
  • Work with whole plant industry partners on technology demonstration that supports development of industrial fusion capability
  • Support the Director of Engineering in the development of the overall plant design, ensuring that the physics package and plant designs are compatible
  • Together with key SDO (Chair, CEO, CFO) and UKAEA (CEO) stakeholders, be at the heart of the team that will seek and raise 3rd party investment into STEP, at both the supply chain level and into the SDO itself
  • Depending on the candidate lead engagement with local and regional stakeholders at the STEP West Burton Site to identify and leverage concomitant economic opportunities, and lead the development of a local and regional skills pipeline for STEP at West Burton

You will be a critical member of the Programme Executive team that will lead STEP through the remainder of Tranche 1 (the current investment phase) and into Tranche 2, the next major investment gate that will see formation of the new delivery Company and Strategic Partnering with industry. 

You will lead the overall development of the physics of the STEP Prototype Plant (SPP), developing a viable plasma scenario for all phases of operation and will work with the Director of Engineering to ensure the machine design is matched to that plasma design, in particular on plasma control and on the management of off-normal events in support of the safety case.

You will lead on the development and delivery of all critical new technologies across the plant.  The design is based on a number of new or adapted technologies, each of which needs to be progressively refined and demonstrated through clear Technology Roadmaps whilst the detailed plant design proceeds in parallel, assuming success on those roadmaps.  You will be responsible for finding alternative approaches should any baseline technologies prove unsuccessful.  This work will make you a key part of developing and delivering the commercial plan for STEP as technology demonstration will be an important part of developing industrial capability. 

You will lead on the development of specific fusion digital tools and will set the strategy for the development of a Digital Twin for the prototype plant that will be pivotal to subsequent design of fully commercial plant. 

You will also be central to raising 3rd party investment for STEP, both into the developing supply chain (supporting suppliers) and directly into the new Company through credibility in the field and the ability to engage effectively with serious investors. 

Depending on your wider capabilites, other pan-programme responsibilities may be allocated to you, in particular, there is the potential to lead on regional stakeholder engagement around the STEP site to leverage local economic benefits, including engagement with the regional academic community to build an educational pipeline for STEP. 

The DS&T post will transition into the new STEP Delivery Organisation (subject to Government approvals) around the start of Tranche 2, the next major investment phase commencing in Apr 2024 and, depending on detailed SDO design and on your capabilities, there is potential for this post to evolve further to become the Chief of Science and Technology and therefore on the Executive Committee of the SDO. 

Please Note:

  • Whilst you will be based at Culham, extensive travel will be required.  This will include travel to London to engage Government stakeholders, travel to the STEP site as part of developing the IDT, travel to a wide range of suppliers, and international travel in support of collaborative work and fusion conferences


£80,000 to £120,000 + excellent benefits including outstanding pension
Site Location
Type of Employment

Additional Information

What we offer

Benefits include a vibrant culture committed to being fully inclusiveEmployee Assistance ProgrammeFlexible work optionsEmergency paid leaveannual leave allowance (30.5 days) increased with service, career development opportunities, outstanding pension scheme, Corporate bonus and 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. UKAEA actively promotes EDI and taking steps to increase the diversity of our people.

Please be advised that this vacancy is due to close on 01/02/2023. We may close earlier than this date if large or sufficient numbers of applications are received.

All employees working at UKAEA 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.

When applying for employment from outside the United Kingdom or having 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

Browse some of our current job vacancies below.

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.

Sign up for job alerts and never miss an opportunity.

Back to top