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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/D062837/1
Title: A New UK Fusion Plasma Physics Programme at Warwick University
Principal Investigator: Chapman, Professor SC
Other Investigators:
Dendy, Professor R Arber, Professor T
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
EURATOM/UKAEA Fusion Association
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Warwick
Scheme: Science and Innovation Awards
Starts: 01 October 2006 Ends: 31 March 2013 Value (£): 4,975,430
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
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Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The UK has recently become a net importer of energy. It is recognized that commercial fusion power development will provide an important strategic option for energy supply by mid century. Fusion is uniquely attractive because it does not rely on the conversion of fossil fuels to greenhouse gases, nor give rise to issues associated with the long term storage of nuclear waste. The physical principles underlying thermonuclear fusion in plasmas are also central to the UK's strategic defence science capabilities. The UK is a key stakeholder in the new generation of international fusion plasma research facilities. These include the magnetic confinement facility ITER, supported by six treaty partners: the EU, the USA, Russian Federation, Japan, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of Korea. The Culham Science Center hosts the world's flagship magnetic fusion facility, JET, together with the pioneering MAST experiment. The UK's defence science needs in this field are met in part by the US National Ignition Facility (NIF, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) and by the new laser facility ORION being initiated at Aldermaston. The UK Government endorses the Fast Track strategy for magnetic confinement fusion power development and is funding the new defence-related facilities.Fusion plasma research is central to the energy, environmental, and defence needs of UK PLC. In addition, contemporary fusion plasma research offers the attractions of a scientific grand challenge, combined with a new generation of advanced large scale international facilities. This proposal seeks to create a new centre of excellence in fusion plasma physics at Warwick, with strong links to the UK magnetic fusion programme at Culham. This will be a step change enhancement that builds on the successful interdisciplinary track record of the Warwick-Culham collaboration, whose work is supported both by EPSRC (primarily through Culham) and by PPARC (primarily through a rolling grant to Warwick). The project will be jointly directed by Prof Sandra Chapman (Warwick) and Prof Richard Dendy (Culham) who have an extensive record of joint scientific and managerial collaboration. To create a new group in fusion plasmas, Warwick would appoint a permanent academic in each of three fields of fusion plasma research: experimental plasma data interpretation and prediction; analytical theory; and computational plasma physics using high performance supercomputing (HPC), linked to the Warwick Centre for Scientific Computing (CSC). The initial scientific focus will be on collisionless, kinetic effects; these are a distinctive feature of fusion plasmas approaching the ignition regime. These appointments are designed to increase UK capacity in this field, and therefore must be attractive internationally as well as nationally. Warwick will therefore in addition undertake to advertise, and subsequently support, these permanent academic posts up to the level of Reader where merited by the quality of the candidate. Each academic will be assisted by two postdocs and a PhD project student. The appointment of up to six postdocs will provide a UK-based career development channel which does not at present exist: this is particularly timely given the recent surge in numbers of high quality UK PhDs in fusion plasma physics. Close engagement with the experimental programme at Culham (MAST and JET) will be developed, and it is expected that some appointees will, for example, participate actively in JET Task Forces.
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.warwick.ac.uk