Back in India, but keeping a foot in ITER

After five years as Deputy Director-General (DDG) and Director of the CODAC, Heating & Diagnostics Directorate at ITER, Dhiraj Bora returned to the Institute for Plasma Research in Gandhinagar, India in December 2012. In February, he was appointed Director General of the Institute. Newsline recently asked him to say a few words about his return to India, and his vision of the ITER project.
How does it feel being back in India after five years in France? Has there been a period of re-adaption?
I feel good to be back at the Institute for Plasma Research (IPR) in India after six years at the ITER Organization. Working style here is not exactly the same however; therefore, I needed a bit of time to readapt. I am also trying to implement some of the good practices from ITER.

Is there anything you miss about France?

Oh yes, my family and I miss a lot of things. As ITER is in its Construction Phase, life at work was different and hectic and I enjoyed that. Aix-en-Provence is such a nice place to live and interact with people that we will always miss that life.

Looking back upon your time at ITER, what were the most important moments for you—those you will remember, good or bad …

Learning to manage an international group of experts in the ITER Directorate for CODAC, Heating & Diagnostics was a very important experience for me. The good and the bad all came together for me at my farewell party last December: I was leaving colleagues with whom I shared all my time for six years, but I was happy to receive so many words and gestures of good will and appreciation for what I had accomplished in the CHD Directorate. 

Does now being on the „outside” change your perception of ITER? Do you feel that the outside world has a clear idea of the ITER project—its scope, stakes and challenges?

No, my perception of the project hasn’t changed although I am now looking in from the outside. ITER is a unique project and the outside world still needs to understand the differences and complexities of executing such an international scientific project, as compared to any other large project. More people like myself returning from the ITER Organization and continuing still to support fusion and the project should be able to recount these differences to the public to further strengthen their support for the project.

You have recently been appointed Director General of the Indian Institute of Plasma Research, a familiar place to you. How do you see your position there and what are your main priorities as DG?

I have grown with the Institute for the last thirty years. It is the premier institute of India for fusion research and my priorities will be to help the national fusion program grow faster and increase our contribution to the international program.

You will be back at ITER as a Council member. What do you expect from this new ITER-related mission?

As a Council member from India, my priority will be to support activities at the ITER Organization to keep the construction completion date within the parameters  of the 2010 Baseline. I hope to help the ITER Organization in completing design work in all possible ways.