“EFDA is now a key element of the European fusion programme. I would first like to pay a tribute first to my predecessor, Professor Karl Lackner. As the first EFDA Leader, Karl has helped build up the whole EFDA organisation and has led it through its first years, the most critical ones. He was helped in this by two Associate Leaders, Dr. Roberto Andreani for Technology and Dr. Jérôme Paméla for JET, who also acted as EFDA leader ad interim for about a year. Their experience, their intimate knowledge of the system and their commitment to advancing fusion will be invaluable in guiding my first steps in this new challenge.

Fusion energy research has fascinated me since my undergraduate years at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. Coming from Vietnam, an energy hungry country, I am deeply convinced that a vigorous development of all energy sources in general, and of fusion in particular, is obligatory if we are to offer a perspective of sustainable development to future generations. It is therefore with a deep sense of responsibility and humility that I am taking up my new duties.

The ITER negotiations will soon be complete and EFDA, within a new European frame for the fusion programme, will continue to play an important role. Why am I so convinced of this? The most visible reasons are the wealth of scientific and technical results obtained at JET and the R&D advances for ITER. Secondly, within EFDA we have successfully developed novel ways of working together in our extremely complex scientific and technical enterprise. This will be an enormous asset during the construction and exploitation phases of ITER.

ITER will also bring many changes to the European programme. An Accompanying Programme in Physics and Technology and a new programme structure are presently under discussion. These should allow us to maintain our present European leadership in fusion science and technology and to train a new generation of scientists, the “ITER generation” as it was dubbed by one JET Task Force Leader. I shall serve the community by helping to develop this important transition phase.

The commitment of everyone in the Fusion Programme to collaborate closely has been the key to the success of EFDA. As the EFDA Leader, I believe in the value of continued dialog. It is only through such dialog that the specific characters and strengths of each laboratory can be recognised and an optimal European programme be built and implemented around them. I am convinced that all of you will share this view. Together, by gathering all our skills in physics, technology and management, you will help me in my dream of a young undergraduate student in the late sixties: seeing the promise of fusion.”

Prof. Minh Quang Tran