Between 300 and 350 scientists from all over Europe use JET as a joint experiment.

January 2014 brought considerable changes to the European Fusion Programme. One of them is the direct access to experimental time at three national fusion experiments. Another article in this issue describes the challenges to organise these collaborative experimental campaigns. The blueprint for this is JET, which has been operated as a joint facility for 30 years – funded and used by the European Fusion Programme.

Setting the scientific programme

JET is Europe’s largest and most capable fusion experiment and the scientist’s interest to work on it is high. Under EUROfusion, work on JET is carried out within four Work Packages made up of scientists from the European Research Units: One, managed by the JET task force leaders, is responsible for the preparation and execution of the JET Campaigns as well as the subsequent analysis and publication of results; one investigates Plasma-Facing-Components for ITER; one addresses technology issues for ITER; and one manages the JET enhancements. The Fusion Roadmap provides the ground for the experimental programme. Once a year, the Task Force and Project Leaders and the JET Programme Management Unit design and propose a Work Programme based on the Roadmap Headlines. Once the Work Programme is approved, the Task Force Leaders integrate proposals from involved scientists into experiments and tasks. Each JET campaign is prepared in the general planning meeting, which brings together the JET Task Forces as well as representatives of the ITER Organization and F4E – all in all nearly 100 persons. For three to four days, they discuss the planned experiments, set priorities and allocate the available time. The participation of ITER and F4E in these meetings marks the high priority of ITER in both the Fusion Roadmap and the JET scientific programme. Finally, the Task Force Leaders generate a time line for the campaign and issue calls for participation for the various experiments, inviting interested scientists to apply.

Staffing and executing experiments

It can be challenging to find a balance between the received applications and experimental plan. Ensuring the right mix of competences is another issue to take care of. JET therefore also trains scientists for special competences, for instance for expertise in specific diagnostic systems. Once the experimental plan is settled, the JET Programme Management Unit organises the visits of the scientists for each experiment. Since January 2014, a JET call for participation not only covers the execution of an experiment, but also the analysis of the experimental data. The focus in this work will be producing high quality papers for publication in referred scientific journals. All in all, research on JET is carried out in a distributed system with very little personnel permanently on site, while most scientists come in for just a short time. To manage this and to retain researchers’ focus on JET when they return to their home laboratories can be a challenge. This is, however, more than compensated by the wide range of expertise and competences these scientists bring with them. In that sense, one could say that JET comprises the best of Europe.