Accessibility statement

Social Science Fusion Energy PhD

Posted on 19 July 2023

New PhD Opportunity

Dr Eva Heims and Dr Marco Sakai from The Department of Environment and Geography have a Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Closing Date 31st August 2023

About the Project

Fusion is the process that powers the sun. If we can harness fusion power on Earth then it has the potential to meet our energy needs in a sustainable way, with minimum impact on the environment.

The urgency to address climate change is driving an acceleration in fusion research, both through emerging private companies (e.g. Tokamak Energy and First Light Fusion in the UK) and new publicly funded programmes, such as the £222M STEP Programme. STEP – Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production – led by the UK Atomic Energy Authority, with the goal to design and build a prototype reactor by 2040 which will demonstrate net electricity from fusion power.

The University of York, alongside university partners Durham, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford, leads the innovative £4.35M EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fusion Energy Science and Technology (Fusion CDT). 

The Fusion CDT is training the next generation of fusion scientists working on the development of new nuclear fusion technology and fundamental fusion science in collaboration with national and international partners (Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, Central Laser Facility, National Nuclear Laboratory, AWE, National Ignition Facility, ITER and Fusion for Energy). Building on this sector leading expertise, we are now offering a funded social science fusion PhD that will be integrated with the Fusion CDT, providing mutual benefits for all students. The PhDs will start in October 2023 or January 2024.

The social science fusion PhD students will enrol on the interdisciplinary PhD in Environment and Politics. They will be supervised by leading experts in both the Department of Politics and Department of Environment and Geography.

PhD Topic:  We welcome applications from students interested in any social science topic related to fusion energy that links with the expertise of academics in the Department of Politics and the Department of Environment and Geography. The topics below are examples of possible research areas:

1.   Regulation of fusion energy.

2.   Public and or stakeholder attitudes to fusion energy.

3.   The role of fusion energy in creating just energy systems.

4.   Exploring perceptions of sustainable and accessible fusion energy sites.

5.   Politics of fusion energy.

How to Apply