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Media Corner
25 September 2008

Highlights from SOFT 14-19 September 2008

Rostock is known for having Northern Europe’s oldest university and Germany’s largest city forest. Between 14-19 September it also became a new mecca for the fusion community by hosting the 25th Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT).

SOFT is a biennial event bringing together more than 700 scientists, policy makers and industry representatives to participate at a series of lectures and seminars. It is a reunion and a meeting point for the new and old blood of the fusion family, an ideal platform to build strong partnerships and exchange know how, a unique opportunity to show off a poster at the ‘walk of fame’ where all participants interact and explain what they have been working on lately.

Indeed, quite a lot has happened since the last SOFT
Back in November 2006, an agreement was signed in France marking the beginning of ITER International Organisation and committing seven parties to build the world’s biggest fusion experimental facility. Domestic Agencies were put in place to carry out their share of work. Europe’s Fusion for Energy (F4E) was established back in March 2007 in Barcelona and since then it has grown in size and expertise. The first procurement was launched in April 2007 with a series of other Calls to follow. In other words, what the fusion community has been discussing for years was finally becoming a reality. ITER was taking off.


SOFT 2008 was a first for F4E. Our fusion stand welcomed visitors at the Fusion Technology Forum and offered feedback to questions regarding our mission and job opportunities, procurement and contracts, the roadmap for future Calls. On Wednesday 17 September, Fusion for Energy opened the morning sessions with two keynote speeches delivered by Didier Gambier, Director of F4E and Maurizio Gasparotto, Chief Engineer at the ITER Department.

D.Gambier presented the mandate of F4E, expressed his strong commitment to the ITER project and reaffirmed Europe’s presence in this unprecedented scientific venture. M.Gasparotto suggested that ITER presented a challenge for Europe’s fusion community to put years of knowledge in practice and he presented the list of work packages. Both speakers expressed the need for strong collaboration between the scientific and industrial sectors.