By forming the EUROfusion consortium, Europe’s fusion research community fills the Roadmap with life and strengthens its leading position in the field.

“We have come a very long way but we are nearly there now,” concluded EFDA Leader Dr. Francesco Romanelli at a meeting in October this year. And indeed, the European fusion community has come a long way. In 2012, the 30 EFDA Associations analysed their programmes, identified the most efficient path to realise fusion electricity and broke that down into necessary research missions. In early 2013 this Roadmap to the Realisation of Fusion Energy was published. The EUROfusion consortium is now being formed to implement the Roadmap into the fusion research activities under the Horizon 2020 framework programme. The members of EUROfusion will be all current EFDA Associates. EFDA and the bilateral agreements between the European Commission and the national fusion laboratories – Contracts of Associations, which used to provide annual baseline support – have come to an end. Activities within Horizon 2020 will be implemented by the new Consortium in accordance with the Fusion Roadmap.

Pooling resources to make ITER a success. EUROfusion enables a strong, joint programme towards fusion electricity by effectively pooling national resources. This will allow the European fusion programme to take on increasingly complex and large scale projects, which are required to prepare for ITER and to design and construct DEMO. EUROfusion will, for instance, not only define and implement the scientific programme of JET, but will also be allocated experimental time at other small- and mid-sized tokamaks.

Industrial involvement is another strategic priority in the Roadmap, especially with respect to DEMO design and construction. Specific opportunities for partnerships with industry have been defined in the five-year (2014-2018) Work Plan for Power Plant Physics and Technology. During Horizon 2020, these partnerships between research laboratories and industries should be facilitated by EUROfusion by means of provision of support to joint programmes.

Education and Training are called for in the Roadmap in order to create the next generation of fusion experts. During the 7th framework programme, the Fusion Education Network FuseNet has coordinated education activities at both Master and PhD-level. EFDA offers Post-Doctoral Fellowships and a Goal Oriented programme designed to train specific competences. For Horizon 2020, EUROfusion will additionally aim at supporting PhD and university student programmes, building on the FuseNet experience.

The formation of EUROfusion is currently underway and will be completed in 2014. Francesco Romanelli has been appointed as interim Programme Manager and IPP Garching as coordinator. The eight research missions identified in the Roadmap have been broken down into nearly 30 Work Packages outlined in the Consortium Work Plan 2014-2018. Project leaders for these Work Packages have been appointed. At an information meeting held in Garching in October, they presented their plans to the wider fusion community and proposed opportunities for collaboration. Work on these projects will start in January 2014. “The success of EUROfusion,” emphasised Francesco Romanelli at the meeting, “will rely on the strong collaboration between the EUROfusion Programme Unit, the Project Leaders and all Associated Laboratories”.