York Plasma Institute (YPI) hosts the ‘Fusion Frontiers and Interfaces’ workshop for two and a half days annually in the summer term (late April /early May). This is our biggest and most popular event of the year as it brings together all of the Fusion CDT community from across the partner universities along with MSc Fusion Energy students, Postdocs and Academic staff based at YPI. Professor Bruce Lipschultz organises the speakers and schedule which consists of ten Fusion-related researchers and leaders to lecture on their speciality to broaden the students’ knowledge of the field, give them insights into research at different laboratories and industries, and help them meet potential employers in the field. To achieve this our aims are for a strong interaction between speakers and students throughout the lecture series. This event is usually followed by a two and a half day student-led conference of Fusion CDT students where they present their research to each other in talks and posters.
As the Covid-19 reality set in Bruce and Kathryn Harvey (YPI & Fusion CDT Coordinator) worked hard to pivot the event to an online setting. Seven high profile speakers from across the UK and EU were secured including Ian Chapman, Head of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, and Adam Baker, a representative from the BEIS funding agency. There was a broad range of topics addressed by the speakers including structure and plans for the UK fusion research programme (and how it is funded), basic magnetic- and inertial-fusion research on transport, to materials for fusion and laser research.
Attendance was high, peaking above 110, and all went extremely well with both the students and the speakers very engaged – discussion/question periods lasting 30-45 minutes with one speaker becoming hoarse.