Head of Research Programme

UK Atomic Energy Authority
£68760 - £73935 per annum
19 Oct 2020
02 Nov 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

Head of Research Programme – Robotics / Remote Applications

Job Ref: 4993
Job Title: Head of Research Programme – Robotics / Remote Applications
Job type: Permanent Full Time
Location: Culham, Oxfordshire
Salary: £68,760 - £73,935 + excellent benefits including outstanding pension scheme
Closing date: 2nd November 2020

Do you have a passion for cutting edge research in robotics, automation and AI systems?

Do you want to help solve the world`s greatest energy and environmental challenges?

The UK Atomic Energy Authority have an excellent opportunity for a Head of Research Programme to join their team within the Remote Applications for Challenging Environments (RACE) department.

As part of the global programme for fusion, RACE is developing remote handling systems for the next generations of power stations. It is also at the centre of the UK’s effort to apply novel technologies to all challenging and harsh environments for the protection of people and advancement of industry. RACE designs, procures commissions, operates and maintains the wide range equipment is used for maintenance and implementation of enhancements of the JET Tokamak and is active in the design and development of remote maintenance systems used in ITER and DEMO fusion reactors.

Reporting to the Head of RACE and responsible for a coherent innovation pipeline from academia through SMEs and RACE into the marketplace. The RACE Head of Research Programme will ensure that RACE continues to apply cutting edge solutions to the challenging environments and will support the Head of Programme Development with the transition of these technologies into funded project portfolios.

More specifically:

- Lead the identification of `RACE ideas` both within fusion and beyond, exploring new technologies and applications feeding into next generation remote operations and maintenance
- Design and communicate the RACE research strategy
- Create and win new research work through negotiation of funding, building collaborations and bid writing
- Inclusively lead and collaborate with a team of Fellows, Lead Technologists, Technologists and other team members
- Lead on Research Programmes across all RACE `disciplines` to identify research elements, assess risks and deliver some research projects
- Support the development of skills and project delivery as a technical consultant
- Develop and execute strategies for building and exploiting valuable and disruptive IP relevant to RACE
- Connect to UKAEA`s `Fellows` stream creating a culture of strong cross-UKAEA technical experts
- Promote RACE delivery, capabilities, successes and collaboration internationally, through forums, conferences, communities, government and trade fairs
- Initiate and define future project opportunities, setting up processes, developing networks and working with UKAEA Business Development to review funding calls
- Represent RACE and UKAEA on external bodies as an expert including industry forums, standards committees and governmental advisory panels

At UKAEA we strive to make everyone feel welcome and fully supported. We welcome applications from under-represented groups, particular from individuals from black and other ethnic minority backgrounds, including nationality and citizenship, people with disabilities, (visible and hidden) and women. Our Inclusion Ambassadors are actively promoting and advancing diversity and inclusion in the organisation to help make our organisation an employer of choice. UKAEA has a graded career structure and our mentoring scheme will enable you to reach your true potential.

The UKAEA hosts and manages the JET nuclear fusion energy experiment on behalf of the EU and is also home to the UK`s MAST-U fusion energy experiment. UKAEA also works with industry and other third parties to develop new technologies currently in Remote Handling and Materials research. Following recent UK funding, two new centres of excellence in tritium fuel handling and component testing and validation are being built. The culture at UKAEA promotes research, innovation and leading edge technological excellence, whilst investing in people.

Knowledge, skills and experience


- Recognised leader in the nuclear robotics community
- Engineering or technology PhD or equivalent experience in industrial research such as Chartered Engineer
- Significant experience in nuclear fusion and decommissioning fields
- Expert level knowledge across a range of robotics fields such as mechatronics, planning, control, AI, Digital Twins, Machine Learning, HRI
- Extensive industrial research experience including complex international collaborative projects
- Knowledge of remote handling systems and remote operations is highly desirable as is knowledge of nuclear operations and/or petrochemical operations
- Proven ability to interact efficiently with people in a variety of different situations - in an inclusive and collaborative way
- Proven track record of building relationships, networks, and collaborations with industry and academia


- Proven track record of securing funding including from Research Councils
- Understanding of UK and international funding schemes and systems

Special requirements

- Significant national and international travel may be required at times
- May be required to deputise for Head of RACE


- As part of the selection process you may be expected to complete work based simulation exercises and a personality profile either online or onsite

- Please be advised that this vacancy may close earlier than stated if large or sufficient numbers of applications are received

- Please note, UKAEA do not pay travel expenses for interviews

- We actively promote equality and value diversity in our workforce. We operate a number of flexible working arrangements (such as part-time working/job share /home working)

- 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

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