The series Conciencia gathered representatives and researchers from CIEMAT, the University of Granada and Empresarios Agrupados

The role of IFMIF-DONES in the development of fusion as a source of energy was the central topic of the webinar organised last April 8 by CIEMAT, within the scope of the ConCiencia series. This online session was attended by over 100 people and gathered experts and representatives of institutions leading the different international projects related to this large scientific infrastructure.

The opening session was given by Ángel Ibarra, Head of the Fusion Technologies Division at the National Fusion Laboratory in CIEMAT and Technical Director of the IFMIF-DONES project. The event was attended by the Director General of CIEMAT, Carlos Alejaldre, Secretary-General of Universities, Research and Technology of the Regional Government of Andalusia, Rosa María Ríos, and the Rector of the University of Granada, Pilar Aranda.

Rosa María Ríos highlighted the importance and future global impact that the construction of IFMIF-DONES will have and expressed the interest of the Regional Government of Andalusia in hosting this cutting-edge technological infrastructure. Rosa María emphasized the cooperation between public research institutions, universities, and the private entrepreneurial and industrial sector. The Secretary-General of Universities, Research and Technology also informed that the signature of the consortium to boost the candidacy to bring IFMIF-DONES to Escúzar would take place in the following weeks, ensuring the local social and economic impact, but also at the regional and national level. The Rector of the University of Granada also acknowledged the importance of this project and identified how the European recovery funds would contribute to the social and economical development based on research and knowledge.

In the first part of the webinar, Carlos Alejaldre and Enrique Herrera, Vice-Rector for Research and Knowledge Transfer at the University of Granada, addressed some of the most noteworthy aspects of IFMIF-DONES. The Director General of CIEMAT described the path up to the creation of the Spanish candidacy and reminded that CIEMAT started working in fusion energy since 90s and the scientific and economic return received since then. Alejaldre stressed the importance of Spain’s participation in significant projects, which promote R&D and boost Spain socially and economically. The Director General also emphasized the importance of cooperation in large-scale projects and that an infrastructure like IFMIF-DONES will allow to do research in important aspects related to the materials to be used in fusion energy and for applications in other fields.

Enrique Herrera identified some of the scientific and technological fields that the UGR will develop and informed about the construction of a fusion-related working centre near the site of IFMIF-DONES, with which they will work closely. The Vice-Rector also announced predoctoral grant programs to foster specialization in fields that will be necessary for the future construction of IFMIF-DONES, grants in cooperation with CIEMAT, and the recruitment of highly qualified researchers. The importance of the future laboratory was stressed for the development of control systems, ICT, digital twins, data management, etc.

The second part of the webinar was a panel of discussion in which María Teresa Domínguez, Executive Director in the Business Area, Advanced Projects, and R&D at Empresarios Agrupados and Javier Díaz, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Computer Architecture and Technology of the University of Granada participated. María Teresa also noted the importance of private-public cooperation and how it provides important return; with the acquired knowledge it is possible to achieve greater contracts. María Teresa expressed the commitment of Empresarios Agrupados in not only engineering and construction aspects but also in the training of future professionals. Javier Díaz explained the complexity of the type of infrastructure that will be built in Escúzar; ‘nothing is simple’, as many aspects are new and imply significant technological challenges.

Before taking questions from the audience, Ángel Ibarra emphasized the multidisciplinary character of this project, in which all capacities are an added value to this large-scale project.