Hub Director awarded RAEng Research Chair in fusion energy

Hub Co-Director (Science) Professor Tom Scott has been awarded a UKAEA / Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in Advancing the Fusion Energy Fuel Cycle. 

Focusing on industry-relevant research across the full range of engineering disciplines, the Academy’s Research Chairs and Senior Research Fellowships enhance the links between academia and businesses with each of the prestigious five-year positions co-sponsored by an industrial partner. Each awardee will establish a world-leading research group in their field of engineering.

Professor Tom Scott is Director of the Interface Analysis Centre (IAC) in the School of Physics at the University of Bristol, and lead for the newly established National Nuclear User Facility for Hot Robotics. 

Professor Scott’s research focuses on tritium – the gaseous radioactive fuel component for fusion energy. This project aims to advance, develop and deploy technologies for breeding, handling, separation and safe storage of tritium. Working in partnership with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), Professor Scott aims to establish the UK as an international leader in tritium fuel cycle technologies.

This award coincides with the initial phases of UKAEA’s Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) programme; an internationally significant endeavour to design and build the world’s first fusion power station by 2040. The development of a well-established fuel cycle is a critical step towards this goal.


Professor Scott says: “Being involved with the STEP, via this award, is a hugely exciting prospect for myself, for the University of Bristol and also the Royal Academy of Engineering. The realisation of fusion energy will be truly transformational for the world.”

Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chairs 

Research Chairs and Senior Research Fellowships aim to strengthen the links between industry and academia by supporting exceptional academics in UK universities to undertake use-inspired research that meets the needs of the industrial partners. Awardees are expected to:

  • Establish or enhance a world leading engineering research group
  • Deliver 'use-inspired' research that meets the needs of their industrial partners
  • Disseminate the outcomes of their research for appropriate academic impact
  • Become a self-sustaining research group by the end of the award (by securing substantial external grant income: RCUK, EU, industry, charities, etc.)
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