New nano-indentation test methods for safer nuclea...

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New nano-indentation test methods for safer nuclear structural health monitoring

Eligibility: UK/EU students with the required entry requirements

Award Details: Fees and stipend

Duration: Full Time - three and a half years fixed term / Part time - five years

Application deadline: To register an interest in this opportunity potential applicants are required to email  by 18 Jan 2019;

Full applications must be submitted by 31st Jan 2019

Interview dates: TBC

Start date: May 2019

Informal enquiries are essential before application; contact Prof Nigel Jennett to discuss this opportunity.


Coventry University has been voted ‘Modern University of the Year’ three times running by The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide. Ranked in the UK’s top 15 (Guardian University Guide), we have a global reputation for high quality teaching and research with impact. Almost two-thirds (61%) of our research was judged ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. By joining the University’s Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing (EEC), you will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and partnerships with some of the biggest names in industry, including Jaguar Land Rover, GE Aviation, Cummins and Intel.

The Project

The project will develop new nano-mechanical testing methods for condition monitoring and life extension of nuclear plant that will improve the safety of sample transport and testing by radically reducing the volume of radioactive material tested and associated radioactive waste. Smaller samples will enable a step-increase in the number and/or frequency of testing of surveillance samples, enabling better risk assessment, modelling, and safer condition monitoring of nuclear energy generation plant life extension. The capability of the new methods will be demonstrated in a case study of Magnox reactor ex-surveillance samples provided by United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). Whilst the first impact of this project is expected to be improved/safer condition monitoring in the nuclear sector, the test methods developed are applicable to a wider range of industrial sectors including Oil and Gas pipelines, and vessels in the marine/transport sector.

The project will benefit from close collaboration between Coventry University and UKAEA, where the Materials Research Facility (MRF) has been established to analyse material properties in support of both fission and fusion research. The student is expected to spend a substantial amount of time at MRF with access to world-class facilities, supported by professional trainings and expert supervision.


Fully funded with a stipend starting at £16,500.00 pa. The studentship will also cover the cost to work at Materials Research Facility (MRF) in UKAEA, to attend international conferences and other training opportunities.


This PhD project is funded by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation International Consortium of Nanotechnologies (ICON). The student will benefit from the ICON international network. This project also provides an exciting collaboration between prestigious industrial collaborator (UKAEA) and academia (Coventry University), fully funded with a stipend starting at £16,500.00 pa. The studentship will also cover the cost to work at Materials Research Facility (MRF) in UKAEA, to attend international conferences and other training opportunities.

Training and Development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. 

Entry Requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average. 
    the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
  • a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)


  • UKAEA and Coventry University are looking for an exceptional candidate who is highly motivated, persistent and confident in pursuing pioneering solutions. The successful recipient of the grant will be excited about exploring the topic beyond current conventions and to challenge both industry and academia with fresh thinking. They will accept to work closely with UKAEA in their Materials Research Facility as well as using all the opportunities and facilities of the university.
  • An experimentalist, preferably with some experience of equipment or instrumentation development
  • Degree level understanding of materials science, especially the structure and strength of materials
  • Basic computer coding and/or modelling/simulation skills

Eligibility & Application Procedure


All UK/EU/International students are eligible to apply that meet the academic requirements, the eligibility criteria can be found making an application page.

All potential applicants must firstly email a CV and covering letter to Prof Nigel Jennett prior to completing a full application. This email must have been received by January 18th 2019.

Submitting full supporting documentation, and a covering letter detailing how their skills address the research requirements of this PhD project