Fusion-related research in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina has faded over the last two decades. Five students from those countries are not going to put up with this anymore. While pursuing their European Master of Nuclear Science and Engineering Physics, they decided to bring something back home with them.

The current PhD candidates in fusion related fields, Ana Kostić (Serbia), Vladica Nikolić (Serbia), Branka Vanovac (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Maša Šćepanović (Montenegro) and Miloš Vlainić (Serbia) created the Fusion Education Network (FEN or FOM, in Serbian). The non-profit organisation promotes nuclear fusion to their fellow citizens in the Western Balkan countries. “By now, there is no one left of the old fusion crew available to teach the younger generation. So, we intend to fill that gap with our initiative”, says Ana Kostić.

Students teaching students

In October of last year FEN organised a workshop for undergraduates from Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina at the University of Belgrade. Fellow fusion students from the European Master programme held lectures during the first three days. The last two days were dedicated to the practical part. What else could be more thrilling than operating a tokamak? The Czech Technical University allowed the young investigators to use its tokamak ‘Golem’. As a follow up, the participants wrote a report on the outcome, with the prospects of operating an even bigger tokamak. Now, the best four are able to complete an internship at the Czech device COMPASS.

Another workshop in autumn

“The first workshop demonstrated impressively that interest in fusion does not stop at the borders of the European Union. So, we decided to organise a sequel”, says Ana. Hence, the second workshop will be held in September this year at the Faculty of Sciences in Serbian Novi Sad.

Seeking further fusion training

The FEN team is not limiting the promotion of fusion only to workshops. This young organisation has started an educational blog on their website. To avoid language barriers, the blog is written in Serbian which citizens from Serbia, Montenegro as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina are all able to understand. Furthermore, the group is still mentoring more than 20 participants from the first workshop. “We empower them to read, learn and seek further training in fusion sciences”, reports Ana.

The Fusion Education Network wants to share the latest in fusion research with undergraduates or even high school students from Serbia, Montenegro or Bosnia-Herzegovina. Their next workshop will be held between 26th September and 30th September at the Serbian University of Novi Sad. For further information, check out the homepage: www.fom-fen.net