Affiliates scheme

The Nuclear Waste Services Research Support Office (RSO) is a dedicated office that supports the delivery of independent evidence-based research to underpin implementation of a UK Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). Our mission is to harness the UK’s vast array of academic research capabilities in geological disposal science and technology and to identify and develop research to support the safe geological disposal of the UK’s higher activity radioactive wastes. We identify and coordinate needs-driven research in geological disposal and our research programme includes wholly funded research, part funded research with UKRI and academic and industry partners, PhD studentships, and engagement in international projects.

In addition to supporting NWS to coordinate their academic research portfolio, we are growing a large community of GDF related researchers. Through coordinating workshops, webinars, training opportunities, and an annual conference we stimulate networking and improve communication between researchers and those tasked with managing the UK’s radioactive waste. The annual PhD funding call and support provided to early career researchers ensures the development of the next generation of scientists and engineers in this area and we now wish to extend this opportunity to “RSO affiliate members”.

What is an RSO affiliate?

A researcher based at a UK university that is undertaking GDF relevant research and not already part of the RSO community (e.g. someone who isn’t financially supported by NWS but is doing GDF aligned research). RSO affiliates will be linked into the RSO and NWS research community to further support their research.

Who is eligible?

Any UK based PhD student, PDRA or research fellow researching a topic directly relevant to the RSO’s mission of underpinning academic research to support the delivery of a GDF.

In the case where there is significant interest in the RSO affiliates scheme, we will limit the number of RSO affiliate memberships awarded to ~6 per year and will select the projects which align most closely with the RSO mission.

What we can offer?

  • Attendance at the RSO annual conference, including accommodation and travel
  • Access to the RSO outreach training course
  • Access to a vast network of researchers and technical expertise relevant to the UK’s GDF programme
  • Access to NWS Subject Matter Experts, including opportunities for mentorship and direct programme engagement
  • Access to samples, data or other resources where appropriate
  • Access to subject relevant workshops and exchange events etc.

What we would like in return?

We will expect you to present and share your research at our annual conference or regular webinar events, and prepare an annual update on your research in a newsletter item, blog post or similar. We also ask that you acknowledge your affiliation with the RSO where relevant in publications and outputs. We would expect the NWS SME to engage with research outputs related to geological disposal to provide contextual support for the research.

How to apply?

If you would like to become an RSO affiliate, there is a short application form to complete including a request for a short summary (100 words) on why your research is relevant to the RSO and GDF programme. Please complete this form and email it to

Applications will be assessed by the RSO Core Team to ensure the research area is relevant to the GDF programme. Affiliate membership will be awarded to those undertaking relevant research until capacity is reached.