Bristol partners with Grenoble Institute of Technology on nuclear science

The University has formalised an agreement to collaborate with the Institut National de Physique de Grenoble (INP) on research and education in nuclear science.

Dr Erik Lithander, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Student Recruitment), signed the agreement, which will support efforts by the University-run South West (SW) Nuclear Hub to internationalise its research and educational offer.

From summer 2017, students from the INP will come to Bristol to undertake ‘blue-sky’ and industry-led projects. In return, Nuclear Science and Engineering MSc students at Bristol will be given the opportunity to attend some of the taught elements of the INP courses. This collaboration is to be long-term, with the intention to increase exchanges over several years.


Representing Bristol (l-r): Professor Tom Scott, Dr Erik Lithander, Dr Mahmoud Mostafavi, Dr Ross Springell


This approach was encouraged and supported by the Hub’s industrial partners, including the EDF Group and EDF Energy. France is seen as one of the world’s most prominent nuclear leaders in terms of industrial activity and academic landscape. Although Bristol has already established international research links with French corporations, this collaboration presents a new opportunity to enhance Bristol students’ experience, as well as providing them with an enhanced international network.

The INP is not only a very prestigious ’Grande Ecole‘ but boasts, in the nuclear field, established links with the EDF group, the Institut National des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires (INSTN) and the Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Renouvelables (CEA).

This comes at a particularly important time, when international and European collaborations are to be fostered and nurtured more than ever. This is especially true for nuclear science and engineering, where large-scale research activities have always been collaborative rather than competitive over the past few decades.

Professor Tom Scott, SW Nuclear Hub’s director, said: ’Back in June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union, but Bristol has not. Our French colleagues recognise that, and today we are pleased to be the first and only UK institution to offer an opportunity to work jointly with the INP to deliver world-class teaching in nuclear science and engineering’.


Representing Grenoble INP (l-r): Alice Caplier (Director of International Relations, Phelma), Jeanne Duvallet (Vice President International Relations, Grenoble INP), Anne Marie Bona (Head of International Relations, Phelma)


The Hub teaching team, led by Dr Mahmoud Mostafavi and Dr Ross Springell, is working towards developing partnerships with other prestigious French Engineering schools.


Dr Mostafavi said: ’We are delighted to work with the INP, which is leading the way internationally for Nuclear Science. We are currently completing negotiations with the “Arts et Métiers” in Paris, the best Grande Ecole from a pure engineering prospective. Working in partnership with these schools will allow the Bristol Hub to send the message to the world that we are open for business. Such Franco-British collaborations are a first in the UK landscape, giving our MSc a significant and competitive edge.’

These exchanges will be administered under an Erasmus agreement, providing students and staff with the opportunity to travel, exchange and eventually foster important research links.

Author: Dr Tomas Martin

Dr Tomas Martin is a lecturer in nuclear materials and fuel cycle at the University of Bristol. He teaches the fuel cycle module of the MSc in Nuclear Science and Engineering, as well as a module in materials science for the department of Physics. His research focuses on materials characterisation at the atomic and micro scale using techniques such as atom probe tomography, electron microscopy and photoemission spectroscopy. He is also a published science fiction author.

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