Typical roles at UKAEA

We recruit a wide range of scientific, engineering, technical and professional support vacancies to help us lead the commercial development of fusion power and shape the future of the world’s energy.

Two UKAEA scientists meeting in a control room

Typical roles

There are many types of scientific, professional support and engineering roles within UKAEA. Our roles are located at Culham Campus in Oxfordshire and at our Fusion Technology Facility at Rotherham, South Yorkshire, Whitehaven, North Yorkshire. 

We actively seek experts from all backgrounds to fill roles like:

  • Engineers (Mechanical/Electrical/Electronics/Systems/Design/Chief/Lead)
  • Process Engineers (Nuclear/Chemical/Tritium/Cryogenics/Control and Instrumentation)
  • Project and Programme Management (Engineering/Construction)
  • Material Scientists/Engineers
  • Research and Software Engineers
  • High-Performance Computing Engineers (HPC)
  • Physicists
  • Remote Handling and Operations
  • Analyst/Data Science
  • Professional Support (for example Finance/Procurement/HR/IT/Property Management)
  • Apprentices/Graduate Scheme and Research Fellowships
  • Quality/Health Physics/Health and Safety Specialists

UKAEA spans a wide range of departments, so if the role you’re looking for is not included above, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Examples of day to day responsibilities:

An electrical service engineer reports to the Engineering Section leader. They have a wide range of day to day responsibilities, including:

  • Providing engineering support and capability to the Electrical Services Group.
  • Enabling successful delivery of operation, maintenance, and enhancement of the Culham site power supplies.
  • Supplying infrastructure and low voltage control systems, ensuring compliance with current legislation and codes of practice.
  • Leading and taking full ownership for large work packages associated with complex HV/LV electrical equipment, complex installation and modification tasks, and technical studies including preparation of documentation.
  • Taking full responsibility for ensuring plant faults are quickly addressed and that proposed solutions are technically robust.

The Project and Programmes Management Office provides the stable of project managers taking the majority of projects forward for the organisation. They carry out project planning, costing and process governance, embodying our mission to develop fusion as a source of energy generation, demonstrating the technology with a view to it ultimately becoming commercialised. They have a wide range of day to day responsibilities, including:

  • Maintaining oversight of projects, particularly estimate collation, planning, cost forecast and monitoring, overall execution strategy delivery.
  • Deploying project resources, through clear definition of roles and responsibilities, working methods and the sequencing of tasks.    
  • Evaluating and presenting decisions that secure the benefits the project is tasked to deliver.
  • Resolving obstacles to strategy delivery and leading the identification and employment of creative solutions to overcoming them.
  • Ensuring all project activities are undertaken in a systematic manner with a Systems Engineering approach at the core of the technical solution to project objectives.
  • Reporting of progress against milestones, changes, exceptions, budgets and other key performance indicators.               
  • Liaising with other groups and departments to ensure effective co-ordination and collaboration across interfaces and competing demands.

As a software engineer you will work on projects with software engineering expertise, producing software and working on the design and execution of advanced research projects. They have a wide range of day to day responsibilities, including:

  • The specification, design, and implementation of software.
  • Assisting in the procurement of application infrastructure, software modules, and services.
  • Developing or improving/extending software as part of research and technology projects.
  • Diagnosing issues and proposing solutions considering both technical and human factors.
  • Working with internal and external partners to establish requirements and achieve project goals.
  • Contributing to the team by participating in shared planning, problem solving and reviews, sharing knowledge and helping colleagues.
  • Managing own tasks over days or weeks with attention to quality, timescales and communication.
  • Providing technical support for relevant systems and software development help and advice to other group members.
  • Applying good software development practices and quality standards.

As a lead mechanical design engineer you will understand and clarify customer specifications, designing creative solutions to new problems, and managing medium sized projects to agreed time, quality, and cost. They have a wide range of day to day responsibilities, including:

  • Creating and designing effective mechanical devices and tooling from concept through systems specifications to detail designs.
  • Supervising engineers and draughtsman to maintain high design standards and integrate design work.
  • Coaching engineers in their career progression.
  • Liaising with customers to report on project progress and to agree priorities.
  • Driving and completing complex design activities within allotted time and with high efficiency, and ensuring designs are compliant with correct design files.
  • Leading and managing the maintenance, diagnosis, and repair of existing UKAEA and JET systems.
  • Managing the acceptance, testing, and commissioning of complex systems.

As a runaway electron physicist you will plan, coordinate and perform modelling and experiments to develop reliable ways to avoid runaway electron events during disruptions, and mitigate their consequences, in future spherical tokamak fusion devices. This work will support the strategy identified by UKAEA’s STEP and Tokamak Science programme management. They have a wide range of day to day responsibilities, including:

  • Leading aspects of modelling and experimental understanding of runaway electron physics, with particular reference to their occurrence in spherical tokamaks.
  • Planning and developing methods to avoid runway electrons during disruptions and mitigate their consequences, should they occur.
  • Designing, proposing and executing experiments on the MAST Upgrade tokamak to explore runaway electron physics and establishing the viability of their avoidance.
  • Participating in the EUROfusion Tokamak Exploitation Programme and other international programmes on runaway electron physics, as appropriate, and potentially also acting as Scientific Coordinator for one of these experiments.
  • Presenting results to senior management.
  • Supervising and managing PhD students and postdocs working in the runaway electron area, as appropriate.
  • Writing refereed journal articles and attending international conferences on magnetic fusion as agreed with management.
  • Being responsible for building a strong network of external collaborations.

As a plasma control engineer you will develop models and algorithms for the MAST Upgrade tokamak as well as implement real time control algorithms within the existing Plasma Control System. They have a wide range of day to day responsibilities, including:

  • Design, develop, maintain and document software algorithms in C for the MAST Upgrade plasma control system, which include:
    • Tools, utilities and GUIs for monitoring, configuration, control and debugging of managed data acquisition, imaging and control systems.
    • Network messaging services for exchange of configuration and event messages between multiple distributed systems.
    • User instructions / guidance / documentation.
  • Taking ownership for the development/improvement of real time software algorithms and models related to the MAST Upgrade Plasma Control System.
  • Diagnosing issues and proposing solutions considering both technical and human factors.
  • Working with internal and external partners to establish requirements and achieve project goals.
  • Contributing to the team by participating in shared planning, problem solving and reviews, sharing knowledge and helping colleagues.

As a People Advisor, you’d be a part of the professional support team, reporting to the People Operations Manager. You’d be responsible for supporting employees, group leaders and section leaders on all people-related operational issues as well as providing excellent customer service.

You’d also be responsible for the following:

  • Providing professional advice and support to employees and managers on the application and interpretation of people-related processes and procedures, ensuring a fair and equitable approach. 
  • Developing and improving policies in line with business requirements.
  • Advising Group Leaders and Section Leaders, coaching, mentoring and supporting them to improve line manager capability.
  • Leading on employee relations issues, ensuring that cases are closely managed, handled swiftly and effectively and in line with guidance/legal requirements, including advising on risks and options available to mitigate risks.
  • Working closely with the Payroll and Support Team Manager to ensure that any pay-related ER situations are fully documented, processed and auditable to avoid any pay issues.
  • Representing People at recruitment interviews (up to Level 6) and role plays as well as supporting departments to effectively progress recruitment, probation and onboarding. 
  • Writing, developing and delivering bite size training sessions and coaching sessions around line management topics, including delivery of HR new starter induction.
  • Leading on process improvements.
  • Using and interpreting management information for identifying trends/issues and raising those within HR and with Line Managers.

If these day to day responsibilities excite you, check out our current vacancies and become a part of our team today.

A group of staff having lunch outside at the Culham restaurant

We are passionate about hiring and developing people that want to contribute to the development of the world’s sustainable energy sources and fusion research. We want to develop innovative people  and support them throughout their careers.

We pride ourselves on our commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce, and the wide range of programmes at our UK based sites available allow us to develop you, both personally and professionally. We also prioritise your health and wellbeing to ensure that you are bringing your best and authentic self to work. 

People holding a meeting at UKAEA’s RACE facility

Our list of typical roles above demonstrates the variety of roles and careers that we recruit into. Your work with us could span across a number of departments, programmes and facilities with us at UKAEA.

View our current vacancies and set up job alerts via your email address.

A UKAEA apprentice training at the Oxfordshire Advanced Skills centre

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