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  Surrogate modelling for neutronics calculations

   Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering

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  Prof L Margetts, Prof Phil Edmondson  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The need to meet increasing global energy demand and at the same time urgently address 2050 net zero carbon emissions targets is placing fusion energy in the spotlight. Two new research groups at The University of Manchester are working with UK and international partners, investigating the science and technology necessary to deliver a fusion power plant by 2040. In the Digital Engineering research group, we are developing a digital twin of a proof-of-concept power plant, so that design can be carried out iteratively, considering the plant as a whole system. A key requirement for initial conceptual design is the ability to carry out fast physics-informed simulations for many coupled systems. In a plant that uses a magnetically confined plasma, the fusion process generates neutrons which pass through the whole machine. The design process needs to consider how to protect some systems from the neutrons. In other parts of the machine, the neutrons can be used to generate new fuel for the power plant. We have an opening for a candidate with an interest in the application of machine learning to particle physics simulation and proven skills in software development. The student would contribute to this endeavour by investigating how to speed up neutronics calculations using machine learning whilst retaining a level of accuracy appropriate for whole system conceptual design.


Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2.1 honours degree or a master’s (or international equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering related discipline.


At Manchester we offer a range of scholarships, studentships and awards at university, faculty and department level, to support both UK and overseas postgraduate researchers applying for competition and self-funded projects.

For more information, visit our funding page or search our funding database for specific scholarships, studentships and awards you may be eligible for.

Before you apply

We strongly recommend that you contact the supervisors for this project before you apply.

How to apply

Apply online through our website:

When applying, you’ll need to specify the full name of this project, the name of your supervisor, if you already having funding or if you wish to be considered for available funding through the university, details of your previous study, and names and contact details of two referees.

Your application will not be processed without all of the required documents submitted at the time of application, and we cannot accept responsibility for late or missed deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

After you have applied you will be asked to upload the following supporting documents:

  • Final Transcript and certificates of all awarded university level qualifications
  • Interim Transcript of any university level qualifications in progress
  • CV
  • Supporting statement: A one or two page statement outlining your motivation to pursue postgraduate research and why you want to undertake postgraduate research at Manchester, any relevant research or work experience, the key findings of your previous research experience, and techniques and skills you’ve developed. (This is mandatory for all applicants and the application will be put on hold without it).
  • Contact details for two referees (please make sure that the contact email you provide is an official university/work email address as we may need to verify the reference)
  • English Language certificate (if applicable)

If you have any questions about making an application, please contact our admissions team by emailing [Email Address Removed].

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder).

Computer Science (8) Engineering (12) Mathematics (25) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

This 4 year PhD covers tuition fees and a tax free stipend set at the UKRI rate (£19,237 for 2024/25). Home students and students with settled status are eligible. The start date is 1st October.

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