Towards a Modern Euratom Fusion Research Programme
In Horizon 2020, the 8th European research framework programme, Euratom will manage its fusion research activities awarding a grant to a consortium of national laboratories. The Consortium, called EUROfusion, is currently being established. Members of EUROfusion will be the current EFDA Associates. The European fusion research programme for Horizon 2020 is outlined in the “Roadmap to the realisation of fusion energy”, which EFDA published in 2012. EUROfusion will be responsible for implementing this roadmap.
The current set-up, which terminates together with the 7th European research framework programme on December 31 2013 contains two main instruments:
- Bilateral agreements between the European Commission and the national fusion laboratories (Contracts of Associations). Through these contracts, the EC annually funds – as a so-called baseline support – a certain percentage (up to 20 percent) of the laboratory’s fusion research activities.
- The European Fusion Development Agreement, EFDA, which is a multilateral agreement between all Associates plus the European Commission, representing Euratom. EFDA manages the collaborative use of joint facilities – primarily JET. EFDA also coordinates joint activities of the Associates and funds certain fusion research activities that cannot be undertaken by one Association alone – i.e. the development and exploitation of common tools or devices. Furthermore, EFDA supports young fusion researchers via Fellowships and Goal Oriented Trainings.
What is new?
- The EURATOM funds so far spent via the Contract of Associations and EFDA are combined into one single grant given to EUROfusion
- Instead of providing a fixed percentage as baseline support to national laboratories, all resources will be distributed in accordance with their participation to the mission-oriented Work Packages outlined in the Consortium Work Plan 2014-2018 for the implementation of the Fusion Roadmap.
- Through EUROfusion, the European fusion research programme will have access not only to JET, but also to other European experiments that are relevant to the Roadmap.
Why is this change made?
Focusing on ITER and on longer-term development of fusion technology for a future demonstration reactor DEMO, the European fusion programme has to take on increasingly complex and large-scale projects. This requires an even more effective pooling of national research efforts. To meet this challenge, a single body – EUROfusion – which implements the European fusion research programme will be established in the coming months.