Bringing talented young researchers into ITER

The partnership between the ITER Organization and the Principality of Monaco, launched in 2008, has provided an invaluable framework within which young scientists and engineers have had the opportunity to work closely with some of the world’s leading fusion researchers at the forefront of fusion energy R&D, and to carry out advanced research in support of the ITER project.

The young researchers who have joined ITER under the Monaco/ITER Postdoctoral Fellowship Program so far have come from a wide range of backgrounds in terms of nationality and academic training. The program encourages applicants from all of the ITER Members (and the Principality of Monaco) and it has been successful in achieving this goal: the 7 Members are represented within its alumni — and a random list of alma mater includes University of Alaska, Beijing Institute of Technology, University of Hamburg, Kyoto University, University of Madras, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Seoul National University…etc..

The program aims to attract not only graduates who have trained in one of the specialist areas of fusion science and technology, but also those with qualifications beyond the conventional boundaries of the international fusion program: ITER (and fusion research) benefits by bringing talented young researchers with relevant skills into the project, while the postdoctoral fellows themselves have the opportunity to test themselves against the many challenges of the ITER project, to experience the pleasures of working in its international environment and, ultimately, to decide whether a career in fusion research suits them.

At the ITER scale, fusion research depends heavily on applying advanced technology and so the postdoctoral program is as much about providing a route for young engineering graduates to apply their knowledge to the design and development of ITER’s components and systems, as it is about exploring the latest ideas to explain the complex behaviour of burning plasmas.

Engineering research projects undertaken by earlier groups of postdoctoral fellows have encompassed the development program for ITER’s superconductors, advanced control techniques and the design and development of sophisticated plasma facing components, while science research projects include studies of advanced plasma measurement techniques, development of time-parallel computational techniques, non-linear analysis of plasma stability, and plasma transport in the scrape-off layer. The postdoctoral fellows have contributed to advances in fusion science and technology in many areas of the ITER project.

Meanwhile, a new set of challenges awaits the next group of fellows who will be taking up appointments at ITER in the autumn of 2014 …

For more details on the 2014 Monaco/ITER Postdoctoral Fellowship Program click here.