CLOSED: Project/Research Assistant Opportunity (2015): Social-Behavioral Modeling of Nuclear Proliferation

[Updated: August 21, 2015]

The Computational Nuclear Engineering Research Group (CNERG) at UW Madison is currently working at the interface of international security policy and nuclear engineering on issues related to treaty verification for fissile material production, such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or a potential Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. We have developed the Cyclus fuel cycle simulator to model current and next-generation nuclear fuel cycles as part of the Consortium for Verification Technology. Cyclus is an agent-based, systems-level simulator that tracks discrete material flow through the entire fuel cycle, from mining through burnup in reactors to a repository.

We seek a graduate assistant to combine their interest in social/behavioral models of international relations, particularly in the context of nuclear proliferation, with our nuclear engineering expertise to develop social-behavior models of individual actors in the fuel cycle. This model will be used in Cyclus to study the clandestine material diversion from declared fuel cycles. Due to funding restrictions, only US citizens can be considered.


  • Masters or PhD student in Political Science, Public Policy, Psychology or related field
  • Interest in international security, nuclear non-proliferation, game theory and/or risk perception, OR
  • Experience with social-behavioral modeling, such as game theory, Bayes nets, network science models
  • No programming experience required, but willingness to learn is a plus

Specific Duties

  • Develop a quantitative framework to describe the likelihood of covert nuclear material diversion, at individual or regional levels.
  • Analyze simulation results to compare relative proliferation risk with different types of behavior or fuel cycle structure.

To be considered for an hourly Project Assistant position (33% plus tuition remission), please send a letter of interest, resume, and unofficial transcript to wilsonp _at_ For further questions please contact either wilsonp _at_ or mbmcgarry _at_