Blog  •  6 Mar 2024  •  3 min read

Learning from world experts in fusion: Optima Systems Consultancy’s Journey with the UKAEA Fusion School

Sam Dunn, Laura Hirschfeld, James Cheng and Sam Edwards on site at the #JET In Vessel Training Facility and at Corpus Christi College in Oxford.


In the rapidly evolving landscape of fusion technology, the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and the Fusion Centre for Doctoral Training have taken significant strides to prepare the emerging fusion industry supply chain for the future fusion era. At the forefront of this initiative is the Fusion Industry School, a dynamic program designed to cater to the training needs of companies and organizations shaping the future of fusion.

Optima has been an active participant in the Fusion School, sending five Systems Engineers over the past two years. This collaborative effort aims to deepen industry knowledge, foster personal development, and build networks crucial for the advancement of fusion technology.

The Fusion Industry School brings together lecturers from renowned fusion experts in the UK and internationally. These experts cover a spectrum of topics, introducing participants to the breadth of fusion technology, the underlying science, and the dynamics of the international fusion energy landscape. The program’s core features include technical lectures, networking opportunities, and panel discussions with leading figures in the field.

Sam Edwards, one of Optima Systems Consultancy’s Senior Consultants shared their firsthand experience from the Fusion Industry School:

“Four of us from Optima Systems Consultancy had the pleasure of attending the second half of the Fusion Industry School organised by the UK Fusion Centre for Doctoral Training and UK Atomic Energy Authority in the last week of September 2023. The first week took place in York from 19 – 22 June with an emphasis on the underpinning fusion science and technology.

We at Optima have the privilege of delivering Systems Engineering expertise at UK Atomic Energy Authority, supporting a broad range of the major projects.

Professor Sir Ian Chapman gave the inaugural address for the week, outlining the world leading capabilities that we have in the UK to deliver fusion and setting the scene for the difference it will make with distributed, safe, self-sufficient power and heat production for the world’s industries.

There are challenges remaining on the path to fusion, and I am proud that the UK is leading this necessary global push with real commitment of funding from our government. It was inspiring to hear from world experts in the fusion industry this week, covering topics ranging from remote handling, tritium breeder blanket designs, materials science and manufacturing methods, all placed in context with discussions about industry regulation, socioeconomics and systems integration.

I really enjoyed meeting new like-minded professionals and re-connecting with colleagues and friends from all around the world from the previous FIS week. Enthusiastic discussion about the direction of fusion with such a range of people really hits home the level of collaboration that is necessary for this technology to succeed.”

Optima are planning to send more of our team to the fusion school in 2024 as we continue to invest in the development of our team as we grow.




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