With a lecture on the subject of ”The Fusion Roadmap and the challenges of the ITER era” Francesco Romanelli completed his tenure as EFDA Leader and EFDA Associate Leader for JET on 28th November.

Francesco RomanelliAs EFDA and JET Leader and interim Programme Manager during the first months of EUROfusion, Francesco Romanelli was the driving force behind the European Fusion Roadmap and had played a key role in the re-definition of the fusion research programme in Horizon 2020. Interest in his presentation was so high that not everyone was able to obtain a seat in the crammed Hans Otto Wüster lecture hall at JET. In addition, many viewers from all over Europe watched the broadcast online.

In his talk, Francesco Romanelli briefly reviewed the history of fusion research since the 1960s. Looking back on his time at JET, he made the audience smile when he pointed out that “the average life-time of a JET director was either seven months or seven years. I can claim to have stayed the longest – seven years AND seven months.” Summarising the merits of JET during his term, he concluded that “to me, it would make no sense to close JET in 2018.“ Romanelli recalled that in 2011, when the so-called Wagner report recommended changes in the strategic orientation of the EU fusion programme, he saw the criticism voiced by the paper as an opportunity. The creation of the roadmap, he continued, “was purely driven by technical consideration – consensus was achieved afterwards.” Romanelli also emphasised that the Commission granted an exceptional 97 percent of the requested budget for the Fusion Programme in Horizon 2020. He finished by thanking the many individuals and groups who made the roadmap and the successes in JET happen.

Francesco RomanelliSteve Cowley, Director of CCFE, reminded the audience of Francesco Romanelli’s scientific career in theoretical fusion science and his papers which are still highly important. “I have an enormous respect for Francesco”, he said, “fusion owes him a great deal.” EUROfusion Programme Manager Tony Donné paid great respect to the tremendous amount of work which had been done under Francesco’s leadership and underpinned that “It would be scientific suicide to close JET in 2018”.

Countless companions wished Francesco Romanelli all the best and expressed their appreciation of the time spent working together. “Francesco is a strong leader with a vision. As one of his direct collaborators, I have been always impressed by his broad knowledge and technical skills and his tireless dedication to achieve the set goals”, said, for instance, Gianfranco Federici, Head of the EUROfusion PPPT Department. “I wish Francesco all the best in future and I am sure he will always strive to make fusion a success.”