Fusion Energy: longstanding promise of endless clean energy for everyone. Why don't we have it yet? Because building a fusion reactor is perhaps the ultimate scientific and technological challenge. Countries around the globe have joined forces in this quest and the rate of progress of this international fusion development program is phenomenal. Yet, because the goal – commercial fusion power – is so difficult to achieve, it will still take a few decennia and a great intellectual effort before power is delivered to the grid.
Students around the world are showing an enthusiastic interest in fusion research. Because it is challenging on the one hand, and contributes to solving the probably most serious problem of society on the other. Moreover: fusion research offers a career in a very international, stimulating multicultural environment.
Fusion is a broad, interdisciplinary field, in which theoretical physicists and nuclear engineers, vacuum specialists and plasma physicists, control engineers and material developers work side by side. Fusion needs bright young people who are inspired by the challenge and keen on working in an interdisciplinary research environment.
In Europe, there are recent initiatives towards specialized fusion research educational programmes. Several universities offer courses at the bachelor and master level and a European Fusion Master certificate is in the making, with FUSENET in a coordinating role. There are ample opportunities for Master students to do internships or training stays at fusion research laboratories, including the joint European experiment JET, presently the world leading experiment in fusion.
Similarly, at the doctoral level there several joint European activities. There are doctoral networks in several parts of Europe, and these are being harmonized and coordinated under the FUSENET umbrella. The European fusion programme accommodates on average about 250 PhD students in a broad variety of subjects. Vacancies for PhD-positions are advertised here.
The foundation for the interest of students should be laid in secondary school. To support teachers who wish to teach fusion in their lessons, the fusion program has materials (video, pics, lessons etc) available. Moreover, many national fusion research organizations offer active support to secondary schools who wish to teach fusion. All the relevant information is found here.