Tessa Davey

UKAEA Reader in Nuclear Materials

Dr Tessa (Theresa) Davey was appointed as a UKAEA Reader in Nuclear Materials in September 2023. Tessa joined from Tohoku University in Japan, where she was faculty for six years at the Fracture and Reliability Research Institute in the Graduate School of Engineering. Previously, she worked at Imperial College London in the Department of Materials, which is also where she obtained her PhD. She is originally from Aberystwyth in west Wales, where she received Welsh-medium secondary education. 

The goal of her research is to discover and develop new materials that will be used in the most extreme conditions, such as in nuclear reactors or on leading edges of hypersonic vehicles. She has previously worked extensively with ultra-high temperature ceramics, nickel-base superalloys, and advanced alloys for accident-tolerant nuclear fuels. 

Throughout the various applications, her focus is always on using physical insights from theoretical calculations and simulations to assist materials design. She works with equilibrium, kinetic, and statistical techniques on a range on length scales and develops transferrable approaches for high accuracy, scale-bridging understanding. One example is her technique that uses atomistic density functional theory (DFT) to generate an application-accuracy macro-scale CALPHAD description while requiring little to no prior information or experimental input. Powerful, low-cost approaches such as this have significant potential to accelerate materials exploration and design.

She has a strong interest in computational materials design using data-driven techniques such as materials informatics and machine learning, and has previously developed methods to efficiently guide phase diagram investigations using sequential learning and uncertainty quantification.

She is also interested in discipline-based educational research regarding equitable access to education, as well as being passionate about equality, equity, and representation in the STEM field. She is involved with diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in several professional societies.  

Tessa also holds a visiting professorship at Tohoku University in Japan.