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Europe and Japan Join Forces for Training New Generations at the JT-60SA International Fusion School

Official photo from the Opening Ceremony of the JT-60SA International Fusion School (JIFS) in Naka, Japan on Monday 4 September 2023. Photo courtesy of QST.

The sun rose on a special day at the Naka Fusion Institute, marking the opening ceremony of the JT-60SA International Fusion School (JIFS). As delegates from both Europe and Japan came together, there was an air of anticipation, passion, and a resounding commitment to fusion research. Among the attendees were esteemed representatives from the European Commission, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and the mayor of Naka, highlighting the significance of this international collaboration.

One of the key figures, Gerardo Giruzzi, the founder and Co-Director of the school and Research Director at CEA Cadarache in France, opened with a heartfelt reminder: “We have been working at this initiative for more than three years. We have always believed in the very sound motivations behind this initiative.” These motivations were clear – connecting the largest fusion research facility, JT-60SA, to the academic world, fostering international collaboration, and ensuring knowledge transfer to the next generation of fusion researchers.

As Yutaka Kamada, Co-Director of JIFS and ITER Deputy Director-General for Science and Technology, emphasized, this joint venture is about integration. Not just of fusion systems and the science behind them, but of the people involved. Kamada passionately expressed his hope for the students to see the two major devices, JT-60SA and ITER, as their own, urging them to actively join in the research and development. The students are the torchbearers of this international collaboration.

Lina Velarde Gallardo (University of Seville, Spain) is one of ten European students taking part in the JIFS in Naka, Japan. Photo courtesy of Gerardo Giruzzi, CEA

But perhaps, capturing the spirit of this moment was Lina Velarde, a student from University of Seville. A voice for the ten European students, she expressed her awe and excitement. “Our presence here today is a testimony to the strength of international collaboration and cooperation, transcending geographical borders,” Velarde shared, highlighting the union of physics and engineering from Europe and Japan.

Her sentiment resonated with all in attendance. The strength of the partnership between Europe and Japan goes beyond just this project. It’s a relationship that spans not only the advanced JT-60SA experimental research tokamak but also the training of scientists and engineers. JIFS embodies the best of both worlds, emphasizing a strong operational component unique to this school.

The very foundation of JIFS stands upon international cooperation, integrating theory with hands-on experience, and weaving together a tapestry of both physics, engineering, and operation of tokamaks. The school’s mission echoes throughout the corridors of Naka Fusion Institute, proving that fusion is not just a theoretical concept but a tangible reality.

Velarde’s speech captured the collective hopes and dreams of the attendees, “It is through unity and collaboration that we can uncover the potential of fusion and light the way to a sustainable energy source accessible to all.”

As the ceremony concluded, one message was clear: Europe and Japan are not just partners; they’re a united force, working towards a brighter, sustainable future. A future powered by fusion, driven by dedication, and built on mutual respect and collaboration.


The JT-60SA International Fusion School (JIFS) is a collaboration between Europe and Japan to train a new generation of fusion energy scientists and engineers.
JT-60SA International Fusion School (JIFS) – At a Glance
  • Organizers: Jointly organized by EUROfusion and QST as a part of the Broader Approach Agreement.
  • Students: An equal representation from both regions with 10 students from Japan and 10 from EUROfusion member institutes.
  • Lecturers: 24 lecturers from Japan and Europe, including QST, National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS), 5 Japanese universities alongside numerous esteemed European universities and EUROfusion laboratories.
  • First Edition: This is the inaugural school of this initiative, with plans for further schools in the coming years.
  • Diverse student backgrounds: Physicists and engineers from 15 distinct universities and institutions.
Europe: Japan:
  1. Consorzio RFX, Italy
  2. HUN-REN Centre for Energy Research, Hungary
  3. University of Padova, Italy
  4. Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
  5. Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP), Germany
  6. Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Netherlands
  7. University of Seville, Spain
  8. Cosylab – Ljubljana, Slovenia
  9. University of Helsinki, Finland
  1. Nagoya University
  2. Kyushu University
  3. Kyoto University
  4. University of Tsukuba
  5. University of Tokyo
  6. National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology (QST)



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