Posted on: 8th July 2013

A new educational currency in the world of fusion becomes available this month with the launch of European Fusion Masters and Doctorate Certificates. The certificates are awarded by FuseNet, Europe’s fusion education network, to recognise students with a high level of specialisation in fusion, says Professor Niek Lopes Cardozo, chair of FuseNet: “Fusion is an exciting, interdisciplinary field. Our students [are] a group with special qualities and we want to recognize that. ‘Fusion’ is a quality brand, the certificate is a quality stamp.”

The launch comes at a time when there is growing discussion of the preparation of Generation ITER. Writing in Science magazine, Journalist Dan Clery drew attention  to an “awkward gap” for fusion personnel that could eventuate between JET and ITER, and it is precisely this issue that FuseNet’s new certification addresses.

“FuseNet plays an important role in preparing the ITER generation,” says Duarte Borba, Senior Advisor to the EFDA leader. “A new generation of scientists and engineers are needed to operate ITER and to develop the science and technology required to build a fusion power plant.”

EFDA’s commitment to training was emphasised in its recently published Roadmap to the realisation of fusion electricity, with an entire chapter dedicated to the challenges of preparing the next generation. In this chapter the authors point out that “ITER will break new ground in fusion science and the best young scientists should be encouraged to participate in the ITER programme at an early stage of their career …. The role of fusion laboratories and universities in training and education should be explicitly recognised by specific support at under-graduate and PhD level through FuseNet, to be followed by post-doctoral training programmes such as the EFDA Fellowship and Goal Oriented Training EFDA programme.”

The FuseNetcertificates can be awarded to students who have done a MSc or PhD in fusion and can demonstrate that they covered the subject with sufficient depth and breadth. The academic criteria for the award of the certificate were developed by a broad academic committee under coordination of FuseNet, with support from the European Commission.

The first round of applications is open now, with a deadline of 19 July, and students who have recently completed fusion studies are invited to apply, via the Fusenet website.  The inaugural awards will be made during a ceremony at JET in late September.

Chair of the Academic Council of FuseNet, Prof. Ambrogio Fasoli is proud of the initiative: “It does give visibility to nuclear fusion as a research field. That visibility is important to students and will help attract the best students to fusion. And it is an important signal to both the academic world and industry, too.”