David’s story


My future goal is to do whatever I can to get electricity on the grid by fusion power.

Coming from a long-line of engineers my family were surprised that I desperately wanted to work in physics. After completing a degree in Engineering Physics I started my career at the University of Oxford as a Research Technician working in functional MRI imaging of the brain.

After five happy years there, including achieving my CPhys accreditation, I joined the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) as a Neutral Beam Physicist on two fusion experiments in 2002. By 2013, I had gained Chartered Engineer status and became the Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST) Neutral Beam Section Leader and one of the Engineers in Charge of the Joint European Torus facility (JET). At the start of 2017 I moved to become Engineering Realisation Section Leader with a mandate to realise and exploit materials, manufacturing methods, components, technologies, processes and facilities to aid UKAEA’s mission and goals. Being one of the Engineers in Charge of JET, the world’s largest nuclear fusion machine, is probably one of the most exciting jobs you can have.

I used IOP’s accreditation and fellowship routes to identify and work on competencies that have enabled me to become a better scientist and engineer.

I completed my part-time MSc in Astronautics and Space Engineering at Cranfield University and became a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2015. I am also currently leading a British Interplanetary Society Technical Project. This project is looking how to make a compact spherical magnetic confined fusion power plant for a spacecraft.

I joined IOP at the end of my degree, to give me access to more opportunities and I wanted to be part of something bigger. Being a member of IOP has had numerous benefits. I have used the accreditation and fellowship routes to identify and work on competencies that have developed my ability to be both a better scientist and engineer. This in turn has made me more employable. I’ve enjoyed helping the next generation develop and I am part of the CPhys and CEng panels. I am a Liaison Officer for the Engineering Council on behalf of IOP and I have been a Member of the Membership Committee since 2017.

I was proud to receive an IOP Fellowship in August 2017. The IOP has been with me my entire career and is inextricably linked to my progression.