PhD: 'Cements of the Future to use in Immobilising the Nation’s Nuclear Wastes and Future Nuclear Cements'

University of Sheffield - Materials Science and Engineering

A student with a 1st or 2:1 level qualification at Bachelors or Masters level is sought. The project is funded for 4 years at UK/EU fee and stipend rates, including a small stipend enhancement above the RCUK rate for appropriately qualified candidates.

EU nationals must have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the programme to be eligible for a full award (fees and stipend).

We are seeking a skilled, motivated and creative PhD candidate to work on a PhD project which will aid in setting the agenda for the next decades, as the UK nuclear industry selects, tests and validates the most appropriate cements to use in immobilising the nation’s nuclear wastes. The global cement materials industry is changing rapidly, with new materials appearing on the market, and historical reliance on the coal and iron industries to supply powders for cement blending is being affected by structural changes in those industries. Cement development and use have always been driven by the needs of the construction industry – but the nuclear industry, although a relatively small-volume user of cements compared to other industries, has uniquely high performance demands on cement materials, which must continue to perform over a service timescale of millennia or more. So, it is essential for the UK nuclear sector to be proactive and innovative in sourcing and designing cements that can meet these needs, against a background of societal and technological change in the global cement powders industry.

This project is sponsored by the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and will be conducted through the Department of Materials Science & Engineering of the University of Sheffield, under the supervision of Professor John Provis ( The project will be co-supervised by personnel from the National Nuclear Laboratory (, and will involve a 3-month internship, including at the NNL Workington Laboratory.

This project intrinsically crosses discipline boundaries, as it involves scoping of options and future-proofing of cement powder supply to the nuclear industry, including some laboratory work. A student with an engineering background would be desirable; specialties in materials, nuclear, or chemical/process engineering would be desirable. Students with backgrounds in chemistry, earth sciences, physics, or other cognate fields, may also be suitable.

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Northern England