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Lead Data Scientist / Lead Theoretical Modeller / Lead Software Developer, Oxfordshire

UK Atomic Energy Authority
Oxfordshire, UK
£49,396 to £52,293 (inclusive of MPP) + excellent benefits including outstanding pension
Posting live until
9 Jun 2024

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Job Details

Lead Data Scientist / Lead Theoretical Modeller / Lead Software Developer

Abingdon Rd, Culham, UK
Salary: £49,396 to £52,293 (inclusive of MPP) + excellent benefits including outstanding pension
Division: Computing
Site Location: UKAEA Culham, Oxfordshire
Confirmed Grade: Level 5
Department: Computational Science and Engineering

Company Description

By 2050, the planet could be using twice as much electricity compared to today. Are you interested in contributing and helping to shape the future of the world’s energy? If so, read on.

Fusion, the process that powers the Sun and Stars, is one of the most promising options for generating the cleaner, carbon-free energy that our world badly needs.

UKAEA leads the way in realising fusion energy, partnering with industry and research for groundbreaking advancements. Our goal is to bring fusion electricity to the grid, supported by tomorrow's power stations. In pursuit of our mission UKAEA embraces core values of innovation, commitment, trust and collaboration.

As an employee of UKAEA you will benefit from:

  • Outstanding defined benefit pension scheme, details of which can be found at the end of this advert.
  • Corporate bonus scheme up to 7% and a Relocation allowance (if eligible).
  • Flexible working options including family friendly policies and the right to request flexible working from the start of your employment.
  • Employee Assistance Programme and trained Mental Health First Aiders.
  • Generous annual leave allowance starting with 25 days, plus 3 days Christmas closure and 2.5 privilege days, in addition to UK bank holidays.
  • Wide range of career development opportunities.
  • A vibrant culture committed to equality and being fully inclusive.

The salary for this role is level 5 - £46,293 plus Market Premium Payment (MPP) of £6,000).

Job Description

UKAEA’s pay arrangements and grading structure are currently under review as part of a transformation project and proposed multi-year pay deal. UKAEA aims to introduce a new grading structure in 2024. This will enable us to lead the delivery of sustainable fusion energy and maximise the scientific and economic benefit. Now is a great time to join the Organisation and be part of the journey.

This role requires employees to complete an online Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS), including The Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks for criminal convictions.

The Role

Are you looking for an exciting opportunity to make a difference? Join our team and contribute to the future of fusion energy.

The Computing Division at UKAEA plays a vital role in fusion reactor research, covering HPC, data solutions, algorithm development, and AI. This role, within the plasma simulation group, applies modern computational methods to areas of plasma physics. We collaborate closely with specialists in the plasma division and are aiming to expand partnerships with institutions in the US and Europe. Key research areas include developing new simulation capabilities, utilising machine learning for reactor design, and deploying uncertainty quantification tools. Candidates need a background in plasma physics or a closely related discipline, plus experience in scientific computing and/or knowledge of machine learning. The roles may involve the opportunity for an extended secondment to a partner institution.


  • Lead and contribute to new code development under the group leader's direction, conducting detailed code analysis and performance evaluations.
  • Conduct research into novel numerical techniques applicable to fusion and related fields, managing the migration of codes to new computing architectures and evaluating their effectiveness.
  • Develop innovative techniques at the intersection of HPC and AI/ML for exascale computing, ensuring scalable training, deployment, and evaluation of machine learning models.
  • Collaborate with national and international partners to optimise codes for peta- and exa-scale systems, evaluate novel computing architectures, and lead efforts in performance portability to drive future advancements.


Essential Requirements:

  • Doctoral degree in a computational, mathematical, or physical science discipline (or equivalent experience).
  • Established knowledge of plasma physics and fusion energy.
  • Demonstrable experience with compiled level languages (e.g., C++, Fortran, C) or advanced scripting languages (Julia, R, Python).
  • A solid foundation in either numerical methods, high performance computing, scientific software engineering or machine learning.
  • An established track record of research publication or high-quality software development.
  • Experience in leading a small team either as project or technical manager.

Additional Information

For a full list of benefits and to apply, select the apply button to be taken through to the UKAEA careers pages.

We welcome applications from under-represented groups, particularly individuals from black and other ethnic minority backgrounds, people with disabilities, and women. Our Executive team, supported by our 'Equality, Diversity and Inclusion' (EDI) Partner and Inclusion Ambassadors, actively promotes EDI and takes steps to increase diversity within our organization. We reinforce best practices in recruitment and selection and evaluate approaches to remove barriers to success.

Please note that vacancies are generally advertised for 4 weeks but may close earlier if we receive a large number of applications.


UKAEA profile imageUKAEA researches nuclear fusion (the power source of the Sun), to develop a viable future low carbon energy source. UKAEA operates two major fusion experiments, Europe’s JET and UK’s MAST Upgrade; has technology centres in robotics, materials and component testing; and is embarking on a UK powerplant design activity – STEP.

Why study with us
Harnessing fusion power for future electricity production is an enormous scientific challenge. It requires a very hot gas of fusion fuels to be confined and controlled. A scientific career at UKAEA promises to be intellectually stimulating. Research roles range from experimental physicists on UKAEA’s MAST Upgrade and the European JET fusion experiments to theoretical physicists modelling complex plasma behaviour. And ultimately, you are working directly towards a new zero carbon future – what better reason to get up in the morning?

Training and development
UKAEA is committed to developing all employees by offering a range of programmes and support to suit their individual career aspirations. Our advanced apprenticeship and graduate schemes are certified by IMechE and IET and we are members of the IET Power Academy. In the physics field we offer PhD and MSc opportunities and Culham Research Fellowships. In addition to the structured development schemes we also provide individual development as needed by the business and career trajectories, including management development opportunities.

Graduate schemes
UKAEA’s two-year graduate programme provides the opportunity to obtain skills and experience to launch your career, working on projects that make a real contribution to developing clean energy from fusion. You will spend 80% of your time on your job role and technical development and 20% on graduate scheme activities. Some of the 20% is allocated to specific tasks with the remaining time dedicated to activities chosen by you in discussion with your line manager, mentor and graduate scheme management.

What we are looking for
We are currently seeking to recruit physicists to work in a number of areas of tokamak plasma modelling such as:

  • Gyrokinetic simulations of core plasma turbulence (two positions)
  • Fast particle physics
  • Plasma disruptions
  • Runaway electron physics
  • Radiofrequency (RF) physics

Come and join us on the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) programme, which is an exciting programme that aims to demonstrate fusion as a net-zero carbon energy source.

Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK

Number of researchers

How to apply
Apply online at

Closing date
All year round

Tel +44 (0)1235 528822

Company info
+44 (0)1235 528822
Culham Science Centre
OX14 3DB

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