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UKs first nuclear doctorate centre launched by Imperial and Manchester

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By Laura Gallagher
Tuesday 1 August 2006

The launch of the UK's first Nuclear Engineering Doctorate Centre is announced today by Imperial College London and the University of Manchester.

The Centre, a partnership between Imperial and the University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute, will be the only one in the UK to award an Engineering Doctorate (EngDoc) qualification in nuclear engineering.

Up to seventy-five percent of the EngD will be made up of industrial placements

The Nuclear EngDoc 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. It will train 50 research engineers in areas such as waste management, reactor technology and safety systems.

A significant proportion of the students will be based at Imperial and will be awarded their qualification by the College.

Up to seventy-five percent of the EngD will be made up of industrial placements, through partnerships with companies including Nexia Solutions, British Energy, and Rolls Royce. The programme is funded by industry together with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The programme will also 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.

Robin Grimes Opens in new window, Professor of Materials Physics from the department of Materials at Imperial, 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."

Professor Andrew Sherry, Centre Director from the University of Manchester, added: "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.

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," he added.

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