This position has been filled.

The Fastest Path to Zero Initiative is seeking a highly motivated undergraduate researcher to assist with the project: Towards participatory design of nuclear energyinfrastructure: An analysis of contemporary reactor design practices.

The nuclear energy sector is undergoing a paradigmatic shift in its technology design and development approaches from the traditional large gigawatt scale nuclear reactors to advanced small modular, micro, and even nano reactors that may effectively function as distributed sources of energy providing community-scale heat and electricity, including potentially in remote, off-grid communities. Such a shift in the scale and scope of use of nuclear energy technologies calls for a reimagining of the design process itself to incorporate community and user inputs from the earliest possible stages of design. Reactor designers and communities have expressed interest in working with each other to collaboratively develop new reactors but each group lacks systematic methodologies and approaches for engaging with the other. This proposed undergraduate research project is part of a broader research effort that seeks to fill that gap through the development of a participatory approach to reactor design. The student working on this project will survey and assess existing approaches used by reactor design teams for engaging with communities and accounting for community preferences as part of the design process. The data gathered and analyzed will be in the form of interviews with reactor designers as well design reports, journal and conference articles, and articles in the trade press. The expected output of this work will be an identification of the gaps in and opportunities for community engagement in the nuclear reactor design process. Through the project the student researcher will learn about design approaches and practices in the nuclear industry across a large cross-section of design teams.

If you are interested, please send an email to Aditi Verma along with your CV/resume, a writing sample, and a brief note describing your interest in design research. Pay for this position will range from $12–14/hr.


A strong interest in and passion for design and clean energy development and deployment. No prior research experience is necessary and students in any year of study are encouraged to apply.

Post Author: Sara Norman