Postdoc Opening: Decommissioning Nuclear Facilities and Storage of Waste

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016
Postdoc Opening: Decommissioning Nuclear Facilities and Storage of Waste

Manchester University are seeking to appoint a post-doctoral research associate (grade 6), for 5 years with possibilities of an open-ended academic appointment. To conduct ethnographic research on the decommissioning of nuclear facilities and storage of nuclear waste in the UK. Project directed by Professor Penny Harvey (Social Anthropology) and Dr Damian O’Doherty (Alliance Manchester Business School) with Professor Francis Livens (Dalton Nuclear Institute).

Closing date 31st October 2016

Applicants are sought for a Research Associate to work on a project funded by an Endowment from BNFL, directed by Professor Penny Harvey in the Department of Social Anthropology and Dr Damian O’Doherty from the Alliance Manchester Business School. The post will involve close collaboration with Professor Francis Livens in the Dalton Nuclear Institute. The appointment will be made for 5 years, after which the intention is that the Fellow will transfer to an open-ended academic appointment in an appropriate School subject to meeting targets as detailed in the further particulars.

The project seeks to study and address current debates in the decommissioning of nuclear facilities and storage of nuclear waste in the UK and will explore social and cultural features of organisation that might help explain prevailing understandings of risk and innovation. Nuclear expertise and industry specialists increasingly see the challenge of decommissioning and waste disposal in terms beyond the purely technical. The social and political dimensions of decommissioning are widely recognised as a central challenge, involving multiple, co-dependent institutions with complex and often overlapping responsibilities and governance structures. Intrinsic organisational difficulties with trust and communication are likely to be important issues when tackling organisational inertia and/or conservatism and other obstacles to innovation and change. Community dependence on the nuclear industry, poor communications, conflicting assumptions, and fear of failure, might be additional issues worthy of consideration. The project seeks to explore these social and organisational issues in more depth through long-term ethnographic fieldwork in order to build a greater understanding of ‘nuclear futures’ and how these futures might be more fully engaged by social communities, scientific practice and expertise, management and government.

You will have a PhD (or equivalent relevant experience) in the social sciences that is based on ethnographic fieldwork and engages science and technology, or industrial science (i.e. engineering), and includes some analysis of the management and organisation of these fields of practice. You should ideally have already begun to publish their work or at least have publications in process that demonstrate a clear engagement with contemporary developments in social anthropology, organisation studies and/or business and management. Some familiarity with debates in ethnographic theory, the social studies of science, and in particular energy politics and infrastructure would be an advantage.

As the School is committed to Athena SWAN principles, we welcome applications from women, who are currently under-represented at this grade. All appointments will be made on merit.

More info:

Please email Penny Harvey with any equiries: