Fusion offers the prospect of a zero carbon, safe, sustainable, secure energy supply. The sector has seen rapid growth around the world in recent years, with landmark results from fusion facilities such as NIF in the US and JET in the UK. ITER is nearing completion in the South of France, and new projects are seeking to accelerate the delivery of fusion power. In the UK, these include the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s STEP programme – aiming to deliver net fusion electricity in the 2040’s – as well as the private fusion companies First Light Fusion and Tokamak Energy, with plans for General Fusion to establish a strong UK presence in the near future. These organisations all work closely with university research groups, as well as driving growth in the companies that are establishing the fusion energy supply chain – this is a really exciting time to be a part of fusion energy research and development.
The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fusion Energy Science and Technology – the Fusion CDT – is a collaboration between five world-class universities (Durham, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford and York) working with a range of non-academic partners to train four cohorts of PhD students. The 4-year PhD programme recruits about 20 students each year, focussing on plasma physics, materials science, advanced instrumentation and related technologies. After an initial period of taught courses in the first year to build essential fusion knowledge, students work on their research projects, sharing knowledge and experiences. Collectively, they span a range of disciplines from fundamental theory and advanced computing to experiments in the laboratory or on international class facilities. Opportunities for collaboration are funded – both within the UK and internationally – to ensure a supportive, rich and diverse training and development experience that prepares students for an exciting career in delivering fusion energy, or in one of its many adjacent sectors.
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