PhD Opportunity: Tailoring the neutron flux in a research reactor to optimise the production of novel medical radionuclides


In nuclear medicine, radioactive material is used for the diagnostic and therapeutic treatment of disease, including cancer. The treatments are typically produced by attaching a radioactive nuclide to a pharmaceutical that will attach at the site of disease. As the radionuclide decays it emits radiation that can either be used to image physiological function or damage tumour cells. Novel radionuclides are undergoing clinical trials or being considered for new forms of targeted treatments, like targeted alpha therapy, and subsequently the demand for radiotherapeutics is expected to increase significantly over the next few decades. Considerations must therefore be made on the production routes for these novel medical radionuclides, which are generally produced in an accelerator or research reactor environment.

The aim of this project is to optimise the production of novel medical radionuclides in a research reactor, increasing the efficiency of production. This will be primarily a modelling-based project in which you will conduct fuel performance calculations, for example in examining target geometries and moderating materials. This research will ultimately feed into a national research reactor that is currently under consideration.

For further information on the project, please contact the primary supervisor, Dr Lee J. Evitts (

How to Apply:

The three-year PhD studentship will begin in October 2022 and cover all tuition fees. A tax-free stipend of £16,096 will also be provided. The funding will also cover travel and related costs linked to the research project.

The prospective applicant should possess a minimum 2:1 in a physics, chemistry, engineering or related degree (or equivalent).

To apply for this fully funded position, please e-mail your CV to Dr Lee J. Evitts ( by 30th September 2022. Interested applicants may also contact Dr Evitts to further discuss the project.

Closing Date

September 30, 2022

Financial Support

Annual Stipend: £16,096

Project Background

This industrial sponsored project is funded by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and is based at the Nuclear Futures Institute, Bangor University.

As the UK’s national laboratory for nuclear fission, NNL is harnessing nuclear science to help solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. We channel our work into four strategic focus areas: Clean Energy, Health and Nuclear Medicine, Environmental Restoration and Security and Non-Proliferation. These focus areas are the cornerstones of our ambition, shaping what we deliver to our customers and for UK society, and how we invest in our future. At a time when society is waking up to acting on the environmental crisis our planet faces, it is impossible to overestimate the scale of the challenge ahead for the UK in reaching net zero by 2050.

The Nuclear Futures Institute at Bangor University is developing a world leading capability in nuclear science and engineering, led by Prof. Bill Lee. This is fast establishing North Wales as a global centre in nuclear technology; fostering industrial links and opportunities and works closely with the UK industry. The Nuclear Medicine group was established in early 2021 with the support of the Sêr Cymru programme and supports Welsh ambitions for a medical radionuclide production facility in the region. The production facility would provide radionuclides for use in both diagnostic and therapeutic treatments in nuclear medicine, leading to better patient outcomes across the nation and beyond. The research is a mixture of modelling and experimental, focusing on radionuclide production in a reactor or accelerator environment, including the development of target materials or optimising irradiation flux; radionuclide extraction and purification from irradiated targets; the development of carriers for novel radionuclides like Auger emitters.