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Media Corner
16 December 2014

Italian EU Presidency highlights the potential of ITER

Keynote speakers during the opening session of the seminar

Almost like passing the torch every six months the Presidency of the European Council of the EU is held by a different member state. It is the 12th time that Italy has been put in the driving seat of EU integration in order to set the political agenda. One of the three priorities, set by one of the EU’s founding members, has been economic growth and employment. Europe needs to kick start its economy, become more competitive, unleash its potential and find inspiration. Science and innovation tick all of the previous boxes because they are vital in Europe’s search of an industrial renaissance. Big science projects like ITER enhance this possibility and drive our ambition to think and act big!

This line of thinking led la Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo ecnomico sostenible (ENEA), Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, and Confidustria Lombardia, the confederation of Lombardy’s industry, to organise during the Italian Presidency a seminar on “ITER- the way to global competitiveness through European fusion” on 24 November 2014 in Milan.

The seminar brought together 80 participants and a distinguished set of speakers from politics, research, industry and enterprise. ENEA reminded the participants of Italy’s proven track record in the field of fusion research. The know-how and the commitment to support R&D in this scientific domain appear to have paid off. The statement was confirmed by F4E’s statistics indicating that Italy has secured the second position from all member states, receiving for the period 2008-2014 an amount close to 800 million EUR for its involvement to ITER.
The strategy of investing in big science projects and in fusion energy was also discussed. Policy-makers were of the opinion that not placing all eggs in one basket is the sensible way to go about rethinking Europe’s energy policy and stimulating industrial expertise. The unique selling points of big science projects are the de-facto international collaboration with different entities, the critical mass of skills, and the expectation of continuity through a follow up project. These points were highlighted by F4E contractors present at the meeting, who shared with the rest of the audience the tangible benefits of their involvement. In order to maintain the industrial momentum and keep skills alive there has to be continuity in big projects as such. Unlocking the potential of SMEs and encouraging them through different measures to participate, were also highlighted because of their remarkable flexibility to acquire specialised skills and cope with the evolving demands of the market of innovation.

To watch two of F4E’s contractors present at the seminar click on the clips.

Stefano Pittaluga, ASG Superconductors S.p.A Project Manager

Marianna Ginola, SIMIC Commercial Manager