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PhD scholarship: Developing a Miniaturised End-effector for Repair in Confined Spaces (UK Atomic Energy Authority sponsored)


UK Other

Closing Date
Thursday 25 July 2024


Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) in Manufacturing and On-Wing Technology, The University of Nottingham.

Applicants are invited to undertake a 3-year PhD programme in partnership with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) to address key challenges in on-platform repair automation. The successful candidate will be based at the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Manufacturing and On-Wing Technology (, Department of Mechanical, Material, and Manufacturing Engineering, Faculty of Engineering. The department has an excellent international reputation for high-quality theoretical and experimental research funded by the EPSRC, IUK, EU, and the manufacturing industry.

This project will be part-funded by the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s RACE (Remote Applications in Challenging Environments, robotics and remote handling centre. RACE was founded in 2014 as part of the UKAEA’s Fusion Research and Development Programme to design and test robots for operating in some of the most challenging environments imaginable. UKAEA’s wider mission is to lead the commercial development of fusion power and related technology and position the UK as a leader in sustainable nuclear energy. 

Based at its Culham Campus HQ, near Oxford, and a new technology facility in South Yorkshire, UKAEA has, until recently, operated a Joint European Torus (JET) fusion experiment on behalf of scientists from 28 European countries; now it is leading the decommissioning of the JET machine. UKAEA is keeping the UK at the forefront of fusion as the world comes together to build the first powerplant-scale experiment, ITER—one step away from the realisation of fusion as a low-carbon energy source. UKAEA is involved in future fusion demonstration powerplant design activities such as DEMO and the UK’s future STEP powerplant.

The main research area of this PhD programme is the intelligent design, manufacturing, and testing of a novel miniaturised robotic end-effector to allow carrying out welding and repairing tasks in confined and challenging spaces. In this role, you will be at the forefront of research that offers significant technological challenges and innovations to improve the quality of mechatronics applications within the nuclear and fusion industries, offering close collaboration with industrial partners.

We are seeking talented candidates with:

  • First or upper second class degree in Mechatronics/Robotics/Mechanical/Computer Science or related scientific discipline.
  • First-rate analytical and numerical skills, with a well-rounded academic background.
  • Demonstrated the ability to develop precision Mechatronics systems and algorithms.
  • Ability to develop kinematic and/or dynamic analysis of Mechanical/Robotic systems.
  • Ability to implement control and kinematics with hardware–in–the–loop.
  • Background with relevant packages, (e.g., MATLAB, SolidWorks/Creo, ROS/ OpenCV/ python, LabVIEW/C languages).
  • A driven, professional, and self-dependent work attitude is essential.
  • Experience working within the industry will be an advantage.
  • The ability to produce high-quality presentations and written reports.

This is an excellent opportunity to work on a novel mechatronics system with strong links to industrial applications and key skills and knowledge in preparation for a high-impact, high-technology research or industrial career.

Funding Notes

The scholarship on offer (to eligible students) comprises a tax-free EPSRC Stipend Level (£18,622 a year), tuition fees paid, and a generous study package.
Eligibility: Only UK Higher Education “Home Fee” status applicants and EU residents satisfying the three-year residency requirement are eligible. 

Please contact Dr. Abdelkhalick Mohammad for further information.

Email: Tel: 07428242696

Deadline: Until filled.

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