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Research Associate – Advanced Nuclear Fuel Characterisation

Apply now Job no: 499977
Work type: Full-time
Location: Sydney, NSW
Categories: Post doctoral research fellow

The Opportunity

  • Apply your materials knowledge to testing advanced nuclear fuels
  • Contribute to the design of a new reactor
  • 12-month fixed-term contract

The Opportunity

This academic research role aims to measure and to evaluate the in-service behaviour of nuclear fuel using a range of in-situ characterisation methods. Specifically, the project focusses on using in-situ neutron diffraction to measure the evolution of fuel microstructures, phase fractions and lattice parameters under the application of a combination of thermal and chemical conditions. The research aims to validate new and existing nuclear fuel compounds under transient conditions representing both normal operation and accident scenarios.

The researcher is expected to further develop existing UNSW collaborations and to work with these partners, both locally and internationally, to plan and execute experimental work on nuclear fuels. The findings will inform, among other things, the design of an advanced lead-cooled test reactor that is currently underway, and possible disposal routes for accident tolerant fuels. The role will offer opportunities to publish high-quality research and industrially relevant outcomes to the benefit of the global nuclear community. The findings are expected to be published in relevant journals such as the Journal of Nuclear Materials and Acta Materialia. The role also offers the opportunity to contribute to postgraduate education in Nuclear Engineering at UNSW, guide and work with Masters’ and PhD students in the nuclear engineering research group at UNSW, and the opportunity to access neutron scattering and other nuclear research facilities at the Australian Nuclear Science and technology Organisation (ANSTO).

The Organisation

The School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering is one of the largest and most prestigious in Australia, with 2500 student enrolments, 80 academic staff, 25 professional staff, and total annual budget of over $22 million including external research grants. Our mission is to prepare students for careers of leadership and innovation, create new scientific advances, and translate research outcomes to positively impact national and global industry and society. We are seeking to attract high-calibre researchers and educators to expand our thriving research programs and contribute to our education excellence in Aerospace, Mechanical Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing Engineering, Robotics and Mechatronics. For further information about the School, please visit

About the successful applicant:

You have a PhD in Materials Science/Engineering (Applicants without PhD level may also be considered, based on other relevant or equivalent research experience), as well as:

  • Minimum of two years’ experience in nuclear materials or materials research with a focus on materials characterisation, ideally including synchrotron X-ray or neutron diffraction.
  • Proven experience utilising Rietveld refinement packages such as GSAS, or equivalent, or in analysing large amounts of numerical scientific data.
  • In-depth knowledge of nuclear materials and/or the nuclear fuel cycle.
  • Strong coding skills in a scientific programming language and/or Unix operating systems (R, python, bash).
  • Ability to conduct independent research with limited supervision.
  • Track record of publications and conference presentations relative to opportunity.
  • Understanding of operational requirements for a successful research project and managing resources.
  • Knowledge and application of the principles underpinning successful grant applications.
  • Experience working with team members and PhD/Masters students to help build their research skill and knowledge and to support and guide their professional development.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills with demonstrated ability to communicate and interact with a diverse range of stakeholders and students.
  • Knowledge of health and safety responsibilities and commitment to attending relevant health and safety training. 

To apply: If contributing to Australia’s foremost nuclear research group is of interest to you, please submit your CV, Cover Letter and Responses to Selection Criteria.


Shiree Thomas
Talent Acquisition Consultant
t: 02 9065 7058

Applications close: 11pm, Wednesday 28th October 2020

NB: Sponsorship of international candidates is not available for this position.

UNSW aspires to be the exemplar Australian university and employer of choice for people from diverse backgrounds. UNSW aims to ensure equality in recruitment, development, retention and promotion of staff and that no-one is disadvantaged on the basis of their gender, cultural background, disability, sexual orientation or identity or Indigenous heritage. We encourage everyone who meets the selection criteria to apply.

UNSW partners with Australia’s leading diversity organisations, networks, and campaigns. Please refer to UNSW’s diversity offerings for further information on our flexible work and leave options, and support for carers (childcare, parent rooms, parental leave).

Position Description

Advertised: AUS Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: AUS Eastern Daylight Time

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