Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

‘Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production’ (STEP) aims to deliver a prototype fusion reactor with the potential to provide unlimited clean energy.

Professor Edmund Tarleton

Professor Tarleton (Department of Materials/Department of Engineering Science) is one of three new Royal Academy of Engineering Senior Research Fellows announced today. He will be working on STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production), which is part of a wider project ('Design by Fundamentals') addressing the significant lack of relevant data on the materials response to yet unchartered, extreme, fusion environments. Once the first generation of fusion reactors is operational, it will be possible to gather this data. STEP is an ambitious programme designed to accelerate progress on a prototype fusion reactor, with the aim of making fusion energy a reality. Working with the UK Atomic Energy Agency UKAEA), it will apply the latest breakthroughs in materials modelling to stimulate the behaviour of irradiated engineering alloys, in order to inform reactor design.

Specifically, STEP will look at how metals form and break, which will require writing computer code to solve equations, running computer simulations and comparing predictions with experiments to validate the model.  

Professor Tarleton has been working on fusion materials since he joined the University of Oxford as a graduate student, and this five-year Senior Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering will give him the opportunity to enhance the impact of his work. 

As Professor Tarleton says: "Fusion is a really exciting technology; it's the natural power source for the universe as it powers the stars. If we can harness it on Earth, it will have a huge positive impact on the world." 

Altogether the Royal Academy of Engineering is supporting eight new joint industry-academia research partnerships that will address some of the most complex challenges facing modern engineers.

Commenting on the latest announcement of five new Research Chairs and three Senior Research Fellows, Professor Karen Holford CBE FREng FLSW, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield University and Chair of the Academy’s Research Committee, says: “It is very encouraging that one of the Academy’s longest established funding programmes - now in its 35th year - received among its strongest set of applications to date and the number of awards we have made this time reflects this. I remain endlessly impressed at just how creative engineers are at investigating solutions to real-world problems and these projects will deliver societal benefit not only in the UK but also globally. The partnerships that support innovative engineering like this are vital to our future health and prosperity and the Academy values them very highly.”

See the full list of new Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chairs and Senior Research Fellowships

Similar stories

Professor David Deutsch awarded Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Professor David Deutsch has today been named as one of four internationally pioneering physicists to receive the 2023 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for his work on quantum information, while Professor James Maynard has received one of six New Horizons in Mathematics Prizes.

Two MPLS Professors awarded Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowships

Professors Niki Trigoni and David Hills are among 72 leading figures in engineering and technology to be awarded a Fellowship from The Royal Academy of Engineering this week.

Oxford to host net zero technology summit

A summit today at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government will explore and map how innovation can help the world to net zero, faster.

Oxford partners with the Optiver Foundation to launch new international postgraduate scholarship programme for women in STEM

The partnership aims to increase the number of women from low- and middle-income countries who take up offers to study Master's programmes in MPLS departments, with the first Optiver Foundation Scholars joining in October 2023.

Six MPLS researchers honoured with Royal Society medals

Each year, the Royal Society recognises exceptional research achievements through a series of prestigious medals and prizes named after great scientists of the past. This year eight Oxford University researchers, six of them from MPLS Division, have been honoured for their outstanding contributions to science and medicine.

Team from Chemistry named winners of the Oxford University Student Entrepreneurship Programme

The StEP programme gives students the opportunity to have a go at becoming an entrepreneurs, challenging students to identify an idea for a new business based on a University research project, develop a business plan, and prepare a pitch to real investors - all in just four weeks.