TU/e scientists named ITER Scientist Fellow

TU/e 14 September 2016

Last week, two TU/e scientists, Federico Felici and Guido Huijsmans, have been named ITER Scientist Fellow. The ITER Scientist Fellows are willing to share and apply their expertise to solve some of ITER’s high priority research needs.


ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is an international nuclear fusion research and engineering project, which will be the world’s largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment. It is an experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor that is being built in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance, south of France.

The ITER project aims to make the long-awaited transition from experimental studies of plasma physics to full-scale electricity-producing fusion power stations. The ITER fusion reactor has been designed to produce 500 megawatts of output power for several seconds while needing 50 megawatts to operate.

ITER Scientist Fellow Network

The first 19 ITER Scientist Fellows that have been named last week are all leading experts from fusion laboratories and universities in Europe, Russia and the United States. Among them, Federico Felici, assistant professor in the research group Control Systems Technology of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Guido Huijsmans, professor in Science and Technology of Nuclear Fusion within the Department of Applied Physics. They have been appointed for a period of three years. While remaining employed at TU/e, they will have long-term access to ITER Headquarters and spend part of their time (approx. 25 – 30 percent) working with ITER.

“To succeed during ITER exploitation it is essential that the members of the scientific community see ITER as ‘their experiment,’ and that they begin to make ITER’s research program their own,” stressed the ITER Director-General Bigot. “As the initial group of ITER Scientist Fellows, they have the opportunity not simply to carry out excellent scientific research, but also to shape this program and to take the lead in strengthening the framework that we have put into place.”

Federico Felici will work on modeling the feedback control systems that will be required to control, for example, the temperature and density of the plasma in ITER, allowing it to operate reliably. Guido Huijsmans is working on large-scale numerical simulation of instabilities in ITER plasmas.

Over time, the principal output of the ITER Scientist Fellow Network is expected in the form of papers published individually or jointly. Fellows will also play an important role in creating bridges with the fusion research community as they bring important ITER R&D issues back to their home institutes, and work in conjunction with Masters’ and PhD researchers carrying out projects both at ITER and at their home institutes.

The ITER Scientist Fellows and members of the ITER Science & Operations Department (Federico Felici 1st from the left, Guido Huijsmans 4th from the right).