Speakers 2022


Professor Paul Monks, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) –  Welcome

Professor Paul Monks is the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). As BEIS CSA, he delivers independent and impartial scientific advice to Ministers and policy makers across the BEIS portfolio. Paul also works closely with the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, other Departmental CSAs, and BEIS Chief Economist, to strengthen the links within and across departments, encouraging effective engagement and knowledge sharing, and to support delivery of a robust evidence base to underpin BEIS policy decisions. Prior to joining the department, Paul was Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of College of Science and Engineering at the University of Leicester, where he remains a Professor in Atmospheric Chemistry and Earth Observation Science.

Dr Tim Bestwick,  UKAEA – Introduction to Fusion & Tokamaks

Dr Tim Bestwick is Chief Technology Officer and Director of Strategy, Communications and Business Development at the UK Atomic Energy Authority. Tim joined UKAEA in mid 2018 after leading commercialization and innovation at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (the part of UKRI working on frontier science, space technology and ‘big science’ facilities) and the successful development of the major research and innovation campuses at Harwell and Daresbury. Before this he worked for Kamelian Ltd and Bookham Technology Ltd. (both technology start ups) and Sharp and IBM. Tim was also recently the Chair of the Eureka Network, the major international business to business innovation network.

Dr Aneeqa Khan, University of Manchester – Materials Technology for Fusion

Dr Aneeqa Khan is a Research Fellow in Fusion. Having completed a PhD in materials for fusion applications, followed by working at the ITER Organization and Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, she is now based at the University of Manchester (co-sponsored by UKAEA and STFC). She is Co-Lead of Fusion Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) activities at Manchester and an associate director of the CDT. She is the Lead Dalton Nuclear Institute Champion and sits on the Fusenet board of governors. Her research interests are on materials for nuclear fusion.

Professor Dave Armstrong, University of Oxford – Materials Technology for Fusion

Dave Armstrong is Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Oxford. He is part of a research group working on understanding the behaviour of materials under extreme environments, such as radiation damage, high temperatures or high stresses. Much of their work is centred on developing mechanical testing techniques at the nano and micro scale. They have access to in-situ and ex-situ high temperature nanoindentation systems which allows them to perform tests up to temperatures above 1200K. These techniques are being used to study a range of important materials for both nuclear power and aerospace applications.

Lee Aucott, UKAEA – Manufacturing for Fusion

Lee Aucott received his undergraduate degree in mechanical and doctorate in materials engineering. His PhD was focussed on the science and technology of welding and was completed via a European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) Collaborative Project. Since, he has gained significant experience working in the UK nuclear sector in a variety of roles focussed on the development of emerging manufacturing technologies for the nuclear sector. In his current role as Manufacturing Lead for the STEP programme, he is responsible for the manufacture and inspection of the UKAEA’s Spherical Tokomak for Energy Production (STEP) reactor and has broad interests across the full spectrum of manufacturing and inspection challenges associated with nuclear fusion.

Liz Surrey, Former Head of Technology, UKAEA – Plasma Heating and Current Drive Systems

Dr Elizabeth Surrey has worked in fusion technology for over twenty years, joining the UKAEA JET neutral beam group in 2000 having previously worked on other particle beam technologies, including as an OEM with UKAEA since 1987. In 2010 she became involved with the EU-DEMO programme, initially developing neutral beam injectors for DEMO, this led to the creation of the UKAEA Technology Programme, covering a wider range of R&D into the technologies required for power plant class fusion power plants. From 2011 until retiring in 2020, Dr Surrey developed the Technology Programme into a ~£50M enterprise, with multiple international collaborations.

Dr. Samuel Murphy, University of Lancaster – Breeding blanket design

Dr. Samuel Murphy is a Senior Lecturer in Nuclear Materials and is Director of Studies for Nuclear Engineering at Lancaster University. His research focuses on the behaviour of materials in extreme environments, particularly the formation of defects and their impact on macroscopic properties. In particular, he is interested in how the properties of breeder blanket materials will evolve during fusion reactor operation, including the mechanical stability, tritium release rate and the thermal conductivity. His work utilises state-of-the art atomistic simulation techniques to develop atomic level understanding of the processes that dictate the materials performance, information that is difficult to obtain experimentally.

Professor Susie Speller, University of Oxford – Magnets and Magnet Technology

Susie Speller is a Professor of Materials Science at the University of Oxford and a Fellow at St Catherine’s College. She has spent over 20 years researching superconducting materials in Oxford, originally working on high temperature cuprate superconducting thin films for microwave device applications, before diversifying into a wider range of superconductors including coated conductors, iron-based
superconductors, low temperature superconductors and MgB 2 .  In collaboration with industrial partners, recent projects have included the development of superconducting joints for MRI and NMR applications, bulk superconductors for compact magnet applications and radiation damage of coated conductors for fusion magnets.  Susie is currently Letters Editor of Superconductor Science and Technology
and has recently written a book called “A Materials Science Guide to Superconductors: and how to make them super,” aimed at introducing superconductors materials to the general public.

Prof Niek Lopes Cardozo, Technical University of Eindhoven – Socio-economics of Fusion Energy

Niek Lopes Cardozo is professor of Science and Technology of Nuclear Fusion at Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands, where he initiated the interdisciplinary MSc programme on nuclear fusion. Before focusing on the training of the new generation of fusion engineers, he directed the Dutch fusion research programme. 

He received the Royal Shell prize for his scientific work in nuclear fusion as well as his efforts in outreach. In parallel to his work as a researcher and educator he has been active in science policy. Among others, he served on the Executive Board of the Dutch Research Council, chairing the Science Domain.

Climate change and the energy transition have been long time interests (and concerns). In recent years his research has focused on the socio- and techno-economics of the energy transition, and the potential role of fusion energy therein.

Dr Valerie Jamieson, UKAEA – Meet the Experts: Fusion Commercialisation

Dr Valerie Jamieson, Development Manager, The Fusion Cluster, UK Atomic Energy Authority.

Valerie’s role is to encourage collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation between companies and organisations interested in fusion energy and all the exciting technologies that make it happen. She recently joined UKAEA after many years at New Scientist and has a PhD in particle physics from the University of Glasgow.


Dr Nicholas Hawker, First Light Fusion – Meet the Experts: Fusion Commercialisation

Nick’s research into fusion began in 2007 as part of his masters thesis, where he worked at the University of Oxford with Yiannis Ventikos. This work continued into a DPhil, where he performed hydrodynamic simulations of shock-driven cavity collapse. These simulations showed that cavity collapse leads to inertial confinement of the gas inside the cavity and revealed that extreme states of matter could be reached, possibly entering the regime for fusion. To explore the concept of energy generation via this process, Nick and Yiannis co-founded First Light Fusion Ltd in 2011.

Nick also spent three years tutoring at Lady Margaret Hall during his studies. After finishing his DPhil in 2012, Nick joined First Light Fusion as CEO and CTO, and continues to oversee the technical vision of the company.

Paul Methven, UKAEA – Meet the Experts: Fusion Commercialisation

Paul Methven joined UKAEA as Director of STEP in
September 2020 after a long career in the Royal Navy,
culminating in appointment as Director Submarines
Acquisition where he was responsible for design and
procurement of all UK submarines.Born on the Isle of Skye, he joined the Royal Navy in 1988. His early career was a mix of operational tours in seagoing submarines and shore-based roles in engineering support and procurement. His later career focussed on complex programme leadership, coupled
with a stint in strategy and performance management on
behalf of the Defence Board. Over recent years he was
the MOD Programme Director for the Type 26 Global
Combat Ship and Offshore Patrol Vessel projects, led work on the National Shipbuilding Strategy and, as Director Submarines Acquisition in the rank of Rear Admiral, was
Programme Director for the Astute Class submarine build programme, the SSN Replacement design programme and the Dreadnought Programme, the UK’s second
largest major programme after HS2.Paul holds a BEng and a MSc in Marine Engineering, a post-graduate Diploma in Nuclear Reactor Technology, an MBA and is also a graduate of the UK Government’s Major Projects Leadership Academy. He was made a Companion of the most honourable Order of the Bath in the 2019 New Year’s Honours.

Mark Gilbert, UKAEA – Fusion Waste and Waste Management

Mark has more than 15 years’ experience working on computational nuclear inventory analysis and nuclear materials modelling at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. Mark is the programme leader for a team concerned with all aspects of understanding how materials will interact with the fusion environment, in areas including activation analysis and waste assessments, atomistic modelling, nuclear data evaluation and acquisition, corrosion and oxidation, plasma wall interactions and magnetic effects. The team supports both the operation of current reactors such as MAST-U and JET, and predictions and modelling for future experiments and reactors such as ITER, STEP and EU-DEMO. Mark is also heavily involved in the development of the regulatory strategy for fusion, particularly concerning waste handling, as is interacting with international bodies such as IAEA to consider how best to measure, regulate and mitigate radioactive waste from fusion reactors.

Barry Lennox, University of Manchester – Remote Applications

Barry Lennox is Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Professor of Applied Control and Nuclear Engineering Decommissioning at The University of Manchester. He holds a Royal Academy Chair in Emerging Technologies and is the Director of the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence for Nuclear (RAIN) Research Hub that received £15M of funding through the ISCF Robotics for a Safer World programme. RAIN has led to many first-of-a-kind robotic deployments, including CARMA, which became the first fully autonomous robot to be deployed into an active facility on the Sellafield site. Professor Lennox also leads the £5M EPSRC Programme Grant: Robotics for Nuclear Environments and the robotics work within various other projects including the EPSRC ALACANDRA project.

Chris Waldon, UKAEA – Systems Integration

Chris has over 25 years experience of leading the design and delivery of complex programmes with first of a kind (FOAK) endeavours containing unprecedented systems, structures and components. His experience spans the nuclear, pharmaceutical, chemical, refining and power generation industries. This has been in a variety of leadership settings successfully delivering in both commercial ventures and publicly funded research contexts. He is Deputy Director and Chief Engineer leading a government sponsored programme to develop a UK prototype fusion powerplant and establish the enterprise needed to deliver commercially viable fusion energy.

Mike Webley, Environment Agency – Fusion Powerplant safety and Regulation

Mike is a Senior Advisor in the Environment Agency’s Advanced Nuclear Technologies and Future Radioactive Substances Regulation Strategy team. He is the Project Lead for Advanced Nuclear Technologies (ANTs) and Fusion projects funded by the UK government including packages to build regulatory capability and capacity. Mike engages with UK government on future policy including support for ANT and Fusion. He also engages with a fusion vendor through the Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) Feasibility and Development (F&D) Project and provides early technical engagements to prospective fusion power plant vendors.

James Taylor, Health & Safety Executive – Fusion Powerplant safety and Regulation

James Taylor is a Principal Specialist Inspector (Radiation) at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) with many years inspection experience. He is the lead HSE radiation specialist for fusion and is responsible for operational policy for both ionising and non-ionising radiation at the HSE. He is HSE’s Approved Dosimetry Services manager and the manager of HSE’s Radiation Protection Adviser recognition scheme. He is a fellow of the Society for Radiological Protection and one of the two UK representatives at the Board of Heads of European Radiation Competent Authorities.

The abstracts for the speaker presentations are available here – Speaker Abstracts – Oxford


Howard Wilson, University of York – Fusion Energy: the conditions & approaches

Following 18 years working as a theoretical plasma physicist on the UK national fusion programme at UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Culham site, Howard Wilson was appointed as Chair of Plasma Physics at University of York in 2005. In 2012, he established the York Plasma Institute, and served as its Director until 2019. He has been Director of the EPSRC-funded Fusion Energy Centre for Doctoral Training since 2009, which now operates with some 80 PhD students across its five university partners. In 2017, Howard was appointed as UKAEA Research Programme Director on a part-time secondment, which included leading the development of the science and technology case for the STEP fusion demonstration power plant programme. He established the STEP programme as its interim Director during 2019-2020. He is presently Director for the £4.3M EPSRC research Programme Grant Turbulent Dynamics of Tokamak Plasmas (TDoTP) – a collaboration across four leading universities.

Nick Walkden, Frazer Nash – Plasma Physics for Fusion Industry

Nick is a Senior Consultant at Frazer-Nash consultancy, and is an established expert in fusion plasma physics, strategy, and policy. As an award winning early career researcher at the UK Atomic Energy Authority, Nick contributed to over 40 journal papers in fusion plasma physics, and led international teams on large fusion experiments in the U.K., Switzerland, and Germany. In recent years Nick has shifted focus to fusion strategy and policy, working with Government, the public, and private sector to help drive fusion forward in the U.K, and make the U.K. the best place in the world for fusion.

Amy Gandy, University of Sheffield – Materials Science for Fusion Industry

Dr Amy Gandy is a Senior Lecturer in Nuclear Materials Engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, at the University of Sheffield. She has 18 years’ experience investigating radiation effects and defect formation in materials with her current focus on developing armor and fuel materials for fusion. She is a Royal Academy of Engineering / Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow in Understanding Radiation Damage Mechanisms in Novel, Compositionally Complex Alloys, is a member of EPSRC’s Fusion Advisory Board and the UKAEA Fusion Materials steering group. 

Gary Voss, UKAEA – The Tokamak

I am Garry Voss and I am currently working for UKAEA at the Culham Science Centre on Nuclear Fusion where I am the Lead Technical Advisor for Spherical Tokamaks. I am Facility Chief Engineer for the MAST-Upgrade project (a medium sized spherical tokamak) and also work on the development of fusion reactor designs for the STEP project. I have previously worked on various fusion reactor projects mainly involving spherical tokamaks and also spent some time working in the aerospace industry on the development of space planes. My background is in electro-mechanical and nuclear engineering and the area I am most interested in is the architecture of a fusion device where striking a balance between the often conflicting requirements of each sub-system is essential.

Nigel Woolsey, University of York – Inertial Confinement Fusion

Nigel Woolsey is a Professor at the University of York, he moved to York in 2002 and leads a research group that uses powerful lasers to studying inertial confinement fusion and laboratory astrophysics. Nigel studied at the Universities Bristol and Oxford and as a postdoctoral researcher worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Queen’s University, Belfast and the Central Laser Facility. His inertial confinement fusion expertise spans 30 years following experiments, using the indirect drive approach to ICF, conducted at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1994. Nigel’s more recent work focuses on the direct-drive approach, with experiments conducted at the OMEGA laser at the University of Rochester, and as well as laser facilities in the UK and Europe. His group receives research funding from the UK research councils, EUROfusion and USA.

Hugo Doyle, First Light Fusion – Inertial Confinement Fusion

Hugo Doyle is Head of Experimental Physics at First Light Fusion Ltd. His team has been responsible for building the capability to experimentally validate fusion in the laboratory, proving the First Light projectile fusion concept earlier this year. This involved building a launcher to accelerate 1 cm scale projectiles to 10 km/s to impact deuterium tritium filled targets and measuring the burst of neutrons emitted, in the laboratory in Oxfordshire. Their focus is now switching to look at the next, much larger stage – a gain scale experiment.

He has been at First Light for eight years. Before this he studied laser driven laboratory astrophysics during his PhD at Imperial and as a post-doc at Oxford which involved using some of the largest lasers in the world to reproduce conditions similar to those found at the centre of a star.

Steve Cowley, PPPL (US) – International Fusion Landscape

Steven Cowley is director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and a professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University. A theoretical physicist and international authority on fusion energy, he led the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority from 2009 to 2016. Much of Cowley’s research career has been devoted to modelling and understanding plasma turbulence in nuclear fusion, a phenomenon that must be controlled to achieve stable fusion. From 2011 until 2016 Cowley was a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology. Cowley is a fellow of the Royal Society and of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He was knighted by the Queen of England in June 2018 for his services to science and the development of nuclear fusion.

Aneeqa Khan, University of Manchester – Meet the Experts: International perspective

Dr Aneeqa Khan is a Research Fellow in Fusion. Having completed a PhD in materials for fusion applications, followed by working at the ITER Organization and Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, she is now based at the University of Manchester (co-sponsored by UKAEA and STFC). She is Co-Lead of Fusion Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) activities at Manchester and an associate director of the CDT. She is the Lead Dalton Nuclear Institute Champion and sits on the Fusenet board of governors. Her research interests are on materials for nuclear fusion.

Jiangang Li, ASIPP –  Meet the Experts: International perspective

Jiangang Li, member of Chinese academy of engineering, professor of plasma physics institute,Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP), Chair of Chinese fusion advisory committee, Vice chair of Chinese Physical Society, Head of Chinese Fusion Engineering Testing Reactor (CFETR) projector. He was the director of ASIPP, vice president of university of science and technology of China. He was in charge EAST construction and experiments.

Alain Becoulet, ITER – Meet the Experts: International perspective

Dr. Alain Bécoulet is a physicist and nuclear fusion specialist. Since 2020, he has been the Head of the Engineering Domain of the ITER Project, an international nuclear fusion research and engineering demonstration project in France. Previously, he was a Research Director for the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) and, in particular, Director of the IRFM, the Institute for Research on Fusion by Magnetic Confinement. He is the author of “Star Power: ITER and the International Quest for Fusion Energy” (MIT Press 2022).

Fernanda Rimini, UKAEA – Tokamak Operational Scenarios

Arrived at JET in 1987 with a 1 year post-doc grant … and didn’t leave until 1999, including participation in the 1997 record DTE1 experiments. After a few years at CEA Cadarache, France, came back to JET in 2009 and started working for the UKAEA in JET Plasma Operations Group. Presently JET Senior Exploitation Manager for EUROfusion. My main role is participation in, and management of, scientific and technical research and engineering developments in the European Fusion programme. Main area of competence lies in plasma physics, real-time plasma control, scenario development and integrated machine commissioning. I am one of the JET Expert Session Leaders with overall responsibility for safe tokamak operation close to the technical boundaries of the JET machine, and I have been part of the group of international experts tasked, in 2016/2017, to revise with IO the ITER Research Plan.

Hartmut Zohm, Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physics – Diagnostics and Control

Prof. Hartmut Zohm is a director at Max-Planck-Institut for Plasma Phyics in Garching, Germany. His department operates the ASDEX Upgrade tokamak experiment. He has a broad expertise in tokamak physics, with emphasis on developing consistent operational scenarios for future tokamak fusion power plants. He is also involved in the European studies for a demonstration fusion power plant (DEMO), where he leads the Plasma System Division of the DEMO Central Team of the EUROfusion Consortium.

Liz Surrey, Former Head of Technology, UKAEA – Plasma Heating and Current Drive Systems

Dr Elizabeth Surrey has worked in fusion technology for over twenty years, joining the UKAEA JET neutral beam group in 2000 having previously worked on other particle beam technologies, including as an OEM with UKAEA since 1987. In 2010 she became involved with the EU-DEMO programme, initially developing neutral beam injectors for DEMO, this led to the creation of the UKAEA Technology Programme, covering a wider range of R&D into the technologies required for power plant class fusion power plants. From 2011 until retiring in 2020, Dr Surrey developed the Technology Programme into a ~£50M enterprise, with multiple international collaborations.

Rachel Lawless, UKAEA – Fuelling a Tokamak

Rachel Lawless is a Senior Tritium Scientist, and the Tritium Programme Manager at UKAEA. Rachel studied at the University of Birmingham, focusing on particle physics before making the switch to fusion. She has worked in fusion fuel cycle development and tritium research for 10 years; and has worked on a range of tritium handling issues such as permeation, isotope separation and fuel cycle design; as well as gaining hands-on experience operating the JET tritium handling system. She is now responsible for the development of UKAEA’s tritium research strategy and for managing experimental and theoretical tritium research projects across a wide range of fuel cycle relevant topics, including tasks for large international projects such as EU DEMO.

Jan Coenen, Forschungszentrum Juelich, Germany – Plasma Exhaust and divertor design in Tokamaks

Jan Willem Coenen studied Physics at RWTH Aachen University from 2006,  after which he turned his attention to Fusion Research in the form of a PhD in Plasma Physics at Heinrich Heine University and Research Center Juelich, particularly edge plasma diagnostics. Since 2009 he is part of the Plasma-Wall -Interaction activities at Forschungszentrum Juelich where he is, since 2013, the leader of the Materials and Components Department. As part of his activities he is leading a Subproject in the EUROfusion Work-package of Plasma Wall Interaction and Exhaust. In addition he is an Adjunct Professor for Engineering Physics at UW-Madison, and Topical Leader Materials in the ITPA Divertor SOL.

Lee Packer, UKAEA – Nuclear/Neutronics Analysis of Fusion Systems

Lee Packer leads the Applied Radiation Technology Group at UKAEA. He has gained more than 23 years’ experience in areas spanning nuclear research and applications in academia, industry and defence sectors with links to several international partners, the IAEA and the Nuclear Energy Agency. He has contributed to around 70 peer-reviewed publications and is currently leading or supporting various research grants and commercial activities in applied nuclear areas, predominantly focussed on progressing nuclear fusion research and technology. He has extensive experience with radiation transport simulation tools and analysis, radiological measurements and nuclear forensics, nuclear instrumentation development and calibration. His group of 18 scientific research staff contribute to the development and application of state-of-the-art radiation transport methods, codes and activation tools (and underlying nuclear data) with wide-ranging applications in nuclear areas.

Andrew Davis, UKAEA – Digital Approaches to Design in Fusion

Andrew Davis is lead for Advanced Engineering Simulation within the Advanced Comptuing Department at UKAEA. He is also lead for the Digital Enablers programme wihtin the STEP project. He has done work to revolutionise NASA’s space radiation workflows and has worked in particle physics, fusion and nuclear

The abstracts of the York presentations are available here.