EFDA Newsletter: Heading the Unit “Joint Development of Fusion” and considering the experience you have gained in your past positions, which aspects of your career would be most valuable for your future task?

D. Gambier: I have gained experience on international technology cooperation in the last years when managing the centre for international science and technology in Moscow and with one sister organisation in Kiev, first as representative of the EU and then as Executive Director of the Moscow Centre. Except for China I was dealing then with the same actors as the one of ITER: Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States and the Republic of Korea. Therefore my past experience has facilitated my integration as a team member of the negotiators for the European Union in a different environment, and focusing on fusion development with ITER and the Broader Approach, rather than on the conversion of former weapon scientists’ activities. However, I have experienced the high value of striving to reach consensus among the Parties, sometimes smoothly and sometimes with enormous effort of all, in order to achieve a high level of trust and confidence among the Russian Federation, the host, Japan, the USA and the EU. These have been key elements for the organisation to evolve, achieve best practices in all the Centre’s activities, spanning from fundamental to Security Research and Development. And this experience should be of a certain value, I hope, for ITER and for the joint development of fusion.

EFDA Newsletter: You supported the bilateral science and technology cooperation agreement between the EU and the Russian Federation in the field of life sciences and biotechnology. How could, in your opinion, European industrial and scientific cooperation be improved in the field of nuclear fusion?

D. Gambier: I operated in the Russian scientific environment for about 9 years. The Russian Federation has maintained a high level of professionalism concerning fusion in general – on the technological as well as on the theoretical side. Being represented by preeminent personalities in the field and being directly involved in the ITER engineering design activities I therefore would say that furthering the development of fusion with Russia is not only of high value, it is indispensable and can be further exploited. I’m convinced that many of our colleagues in Russia would stand ready to deliver excellent products for ITER and for fusion in general. Fusion is a Russian field of excellence and therefore the Russian and the European cooperation in this field can be further developed for the benefit of all the ITER Parties.

EFDA Newsletter: Your present activity is Head of the Fusion association agreements Unit. Considering the experience you have gained in your past positions, for example as Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Research, which aspects of your carrier would be most valuable for your future task?

Directorate J – Energy

Unit 5: Joint development of Fusion
Headof Unit: DidierGambier

Unit 6: Fusion association agreements
Head of Unit:Yvan Capouet

Unit 7: Administration and finance
Head of Unit: Eduard Rille

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Y. Capouet: Everything that I have done so far in the Commission has always been linked to internal policies, for the European Union, its members States and industry. This means networking people, gathering forces and creating the right framework conditions for cooperation. This was also very much the input I gave to Mr. Busquin as Head of his Cabinet during the last 20 months. In order to cope with the major challenges of ITER we will have to maintain the idea of integration. This has been the case in the past and I’m willing to contribute my own experience to continue to strengthen the integration in the fusion area.

EFDA Newsletter: As former engineer in the Belgian nuclear safety inspectorate in which way can you use this experience to support nuclear fusion?

Y. Capouet: My engineering experience is very much related to the project’s experience. This means: defining a goal, defining deliverables, doing everything which is necessary to get to the final goal, avoiding traps and anticipating difficulties. I think all that will be relevant as well for the future of the fusion programme. My experience in the field of the nuclear fission energy was also in a time where fission was moving away from the scientists labs, into more cooperation with and ownership by the industry. All these are challenges that we will face also in the field of fusion as our aim is to make fusion a realistic and affordable energy source before the middle of this century.

EFDA Newsletter: Considering the experience you have gained in your past positions in international organisations, industry and at university, which aspects of your carrier would be most valuable for your future task as head of administration and finance?

Eduard Rille: The most valuable thing is that I have gained a great deal of experience in working with people. Administration and finance sounds very dry, but in practice this means working on positions, careers, dealing with budgets and public money. In parallel to my management position at LEICA AG in Switzerland I was teaching at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. The most valuable thing I’ve learned, in working with students and researchers, is patience.

EFDA Newsletter: At LEICA AG you worked as project manager and director of marketing and logistics. What is in your opinion the most important thing in a good business plan for the European Research Area?

E. Rille: The European Research Area is a very innovative concept: and it is based on the idea that we should pursue research in areas where the member states alone cannot achieve a certain target. Fusion, especially ITER, is one part of the European Research Area, which demands infrastructures and large installations that require very experienced management skills. The senior management will be adapted to those needs. In Europe we have enough talent and enough young people who combine these important skills and I think that our big challenge will be to involve them effectively.

Interviews: D. Lutz-Lanzinger