Over recent years EPSRC, as part of its contribution to the RCUK energy programme, has made significant investments in nuclear fusion and fission research and it is timely with the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review having been recently been announced to review these investments. EPSRC’s Council has requested that an independent review of nuclear fusion and fission research is conducted to inform decisions on the future investment strategy for nuclear energy research and training.
The review will be organised by EPSRC and carried out by an independent Review Panel of high standing UK and international members. The review will seek to understand the position, quality and international standing of UK research into fusion and fission with the key objectives listed below. The review will take place between the 14 and 16 September 2015 in central London.
A selected group of leading researchers from the UK fusion and fission communities, representing the major research investments that EPSRC has made in recent years, will be invited to meet with the Review Panel. Representatives of the key policy, industry, government and advisory groups will also be invited to give evidence.
In order to provide a wide evidence base for the Review Panel we are inviting submissions of evidence via the form below. To help you prepare your response the questions included in the form can also be found below. The form does not need to be completed in one session but can be saved and returned to. The form is now open and will close at midday on Friday 21 August.
The information we receive in response to this call for evidence will be made available to the Review Panel, but will not be made public in a format where individual comments are attributable.
- An independent review of the quality of the current research supported in the UK with a focus on EPSRC’s remit but informed by the research supported across the breadth of the Research Councils.
- A review of UK research benchmarked against the best international research, resulting in the identification of the UK’s unique capabilities, and recommendations for future international engagement.
- Identification of progress that has been made as a result of changes within the landscape over the last 10 years eg MAST Upgrade, delays to ITER, increased research support for fission.
- The consideration of possible future global development scenarios, the UK’s role within these, and recommendations for future long-term research strategies for the Research Councils.
- A view on the current level of understanding of the science and / or engineering in plasma physics, materials and systems engineering, and the potential opportunities, including for the UK.
- Identification of synergies between fission and fusion, and recommendations to enhance joint working.
- Review of doctoral training to date and a recommendation of future needs, taking into account the breadth of possible career paths and future sector capability needs.
- A recommendation on the future relative proportion of the RCUK Energy Programme’s budget to be invested in fission and fusion.
- Personal details
- Affiliation details
- Statement of interest (100 words)
- Within your field of expertise, what is your opinion on the current level of understanding of the science and/or engineering that is relevant to fusion and / or fission? (150 words max)
- What are the potential opportunities, both internationally and for the UK? (150 words max)
- How would you rate the UK’s international standing in nuclear fission or nuclear fusion research? (multiple choice options and 100 words max)
- Who should the UK be working with internationally and why? (multiple choice options and 100 words max)
- Do you think the UK has the correct balance of funding between bilateral research calls with other countries and participation in major international projects? (100 words max)
- What progress has been made in the UK over the last ten years in nuclear fission and fusion research? (200 words max)
- What do you see the future global research scenarios to be in the fission and fusion sector, and how do you think the UK, and in particular the Research Councils, should be positioning itself with respect to them? (300 words max)
- Does the current UK fusion and fission research activity address the appropriate short, medium and/or long term research requirements of the sector? (multiple choice options and 100 words max)
- What is your view on the current and necessary relative timescales that fission and fusion research require? (100 words max)
- What synergies do you see between fission and fusion research and how can joint working in these areas be enhanced? (200 words max)
- Are the sectors future capability needs covered by the doctoral training currently provided, and is this training of sufficient quality? (multiple choice options and comments box)
- Are the sectors future capability needs covered by the undergraduate and masters programmes currently provided, and is this training of sufficient quality? (multiple choice options and comments box)
- Is there sufficient access for UK researchers to world-leading facilities? (multiple choice options and 100 words max)
- What are your thoughts on the balance of EPSRC funding within the fusion and/or fission research landscape; between fusion and fission research; and between fusion/fission and other energy research areas. (200 words max)
If you have any questions relating to this call for evidence please contact