Target Design Lead Scientist

Oxford, UK
Nov 06, 2023
Posting live until
Dec 06, 2023
Job Ref 127

Job Description

The Target Design Team at First Light Fusion focuses on the use of numerical modelling and machine learning to invent, and bring to operational maturity, the novel target designs and electromagnetic load concepts that will be required for current and future FLF experiments and power plant designs. We are looking to hire a skilled and experienced scientist or engineer to lead the targets division of our growing team.

In this role you will work with the Head of Department to oversee work on target design at FLF, managing a group of scientists and engineers. You will work on inertial fusion targets through all stages of development, from basic theory through to final specification of designs for experiments. You will design the targets to reach ignition on our future pulsed power machine M4, and develop our ideas for high-gain targets for the FLF reactor concept, as we work to make inertial fusion energy generation a reality.

At First Light Fusion we validate our ideas with experiments in our own facility and at institutions around the world. To facilitate this work, you will collaborate across the technical team, using your expertise to ensure that targets are designed, manufactured, and fielded on experiments in a way that maximises performance.

While helpful, experience working on inertial fusion is not necessary for this role. What is essential is experience finding creative solutions to complex, technical problems and in leading a team to deliver this goal.

Responsibilities will include:

  • Helping to provide strategic vision for target design development at the company;
  • Line management of a small but rapidly growing sub-team of scientists and engineers;
  • Development of new and current target design concepts using ICF theory, our in-house hydrodynamic and magneto-hydrodynamic codes, and machine learning-based optimisation;
  • Using Python and other tools to analyse results and identify trends;
  • Provision of support and training to the wider FLF technical team, helping them to develop their own target design ideas and interpret their results.


  • PhD in a STEM subject, or equivalent industry experience;
  • A creative, problem-solving mindset;
  • Experience leading a team to deliver successful solutions to complex technical problems;
  • Ability to work effectively as part of a multidisciplinary team;
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills;
  • Good programming skills.


  • Knowledge of high energy density physics, shock physics or inertial fusion physics;
  • Knowledge of software engineering good practice;
  • Experience with machine learning and other advanced optimisation methods;
  • Understanding of the numerical methods used in hydrodynamics codes;
  • Programming experience in Python, C++ or Fortran


  • Competitive salary;
  • 25 days annual leave + bank holidays;
  • Free lunch, snacks, and soft drinks;
  • Cycle to work scheme;
  • Electric vehicle car scheme;
  • Relocation support;
  • Flexible working;
  • Generous share options scheme;
  • Health and wellbeing scheme;
  • 8% employer pension contribution without matching requirements;
  • Enhanced maternal / paternal and sick leave.