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Manchester launches UK’s first nuclear doctorate centre

The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute, in partnership with Imperial College London, is to launch the UK’s first Nuclear Engineering Doctorate Centre.

The Centre will be the only one of its kind in the UK to award an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) qualification in nuclear engineering.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council as part of the Research Councils' Energy Programme, the £4m centre will train 50 research engineers in areas such as waste management, reactor technology and safety systems. The research engineers will be sponsored by government and industry.

The programme will be supported by the universities of Bristol, Leeds, Sheffield and Strathclyde who will provide expertise in specialist areas such as risk management and process engineering.

The Nuclear EngD will be a four-year postgraduate qualification aimed at the UK's best young research engineers. Its aim is to equip them with the skills needed to take on senior roles within the nuclear industry. As part of the programme, students will obtain a Management Diploma from Manchester Business School.

Professor Andrew Sherry, Centre Director, said: “The EngD is a radical alternative to the traditional PhD, being better suited to the needs of industry, and providing a more vocationally oriented doctorate in engineering.”

The EngD qualification will be complemented by the Nuclear Technology Education (NTEC) consortium’s MSc in Nuclear Science and Technology which is coordinated by the Dalton Nuclear Institute.

Up to seventy-five percent of the EngD will be based in industry through partnerships with companies including Nexia Solutions, British Energy, and Rolls Royce.

Professor Richard Clegg, Director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute, said: “Over the last twenty years we have witnessed a major decline in skilled nuclear engineers graduating from universities in this country. The EngD, alongside the other nuclear research and education initiatives at Manchester, shall see this trend reversed. This is crucial so that the UK can underpin the nuclear opportunities and challenges it is facing in the future, ranging from new reactors through to decommissioning and clean-up.

“If new nuclear power stations are built then it will be courses like this which fill this skills gap with qualified and experienced graduates.”

Professor Robin Grimes, Professor of Materials Physics at Imperial College, said: "This programme provides a framework for present and future collaboration between industry and academia. It will make an important contribution to revitalising the UK nuclear energy capability."

The first intake of students onto the EngD will be in September 2006.

Jo Grady | alfa
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