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Researchers share knowledge on how they are developing solutions for nuclear decommissioning challenges

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NDA has co-funded over 120 PhD projects since 2005
NDA has co-funded over 120 PhD projects since 2005

On Wednesday 20 January I hosted the 4th NDA PhD Bursary Seminar at the Pendulum hotel in Manchester.

The day was all about knowledge exchange.

The seminar brings together all of the NDA directly funded students. It gives them the opportunity to present their work to an audience of:

  • technical leads from around the NDA’s estate
  • academic specialists in decommissioning-related topics
  • a range of supply chain companies

The day was all about knowledge exchange and helping to maintain a community and capability that can be focussed on our decommissioning challenges.

What’s in it for the PhD students?

PhD Research Seminar for NDA-Sponsored PhD
PhD Research Seminar for NDA-Sponsored PhD
Projects, 2016

The students, who are carrying out individual research projects at universities all over the UK, have a rare opportunity to learn from experts whose collective experience in UK nuclear decommissioning challenges is vast. It helps them to build a network of contacts within the industry and to make an impression on those who are helping to recruit the next generation. Indeed, the vast majority of the students who have graduated so far through the bursary scheme have stayed in the wider nuclear family.

What’s in it for the attendees?

The academics and students are at the cutting edge of their fields of study, whether in materials science, computer modelling, radiation chemistry or any of the multitude of topics that the bursary scheme includes. This gives representatives from industry the chance to:

  • learn about what new techniques might be of value for their own challenges
  • to explore the new ideas that fresh thinking can bring to old problems
  • ensure that the right context is provided to the challenges we face

If you are interested in the presentations, areas of study, and the contacts see:

NDA-Sponsored PhD Projects 2016: Abstracts Booklet

My view of the day

Overall, the day was a great success. The presentations from the students were all of an exceptionally high standard. In particular, their posters, produced to display their work in the breakout sessions, showed that a great deal of thought had gone into putting their message across.

Congratulations go to Matthew Nancekievill and Robert Shearman who won the prizes for best oral and poster presentations respectively.

Poster (Robert Shearman): enhancing and improving nuclear decay data

Special thanks go to Gerry Thomas from Imperial too. Gerry gave the keynote talk and showed us all the impact that can be made by presenting the often-complicated facts about radiation effects in a way that's easily understood by a non-specialist. This was a really thought-provoking issue and applicable to so many aspects of the work we all do on a daily basis.

The only negative feedback I had was about the seminar not being long enough! That has to be a sign of its value to all who attended. For me, I was once again impressed by the students’ confidence. It was readily apparent that they understood the potential value of their contribution to the NDA's mission and really wanted to maximise their opportunity to make a difference.

Sponsorship of research work is an important part of our R&D strategy to ensure there is a capability when we need it to address our challenges.

Find out more about NDA PhD bursaries

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