Radomír Pánek is the new General Assembly Chair of the EUROfusion consortium

08. 01. 2024

Radomír Pánek, Director of the Institute of Plasma Physics of the CAS, has been elected the new General Assembly Chair of EUROfusion, the European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy. The EUROfusion consortium brings together nearly 5,000 scientists from 193 research institutions, universities, and companies across Europe. It operates with a budget of almost €1 billion, provided by the European Commission and EU Member States. The Czech scientist was elected Chair of the EUROfusion General Assembly in December 2023 for a two-year term.

Radomír Pánek, Director of the Institute of Plasma Physics of the CAS, took over the position from Ambrogio Fasoli, the Associate Vice President for Research of EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, on 1 January 2024. The consortium’s task is to coordinate a comprehensive research programme that aims to provide Europe with an emission-free, inexhaustible, and safe source of nuclear energy – fusion.

“This prestigious position represents for me on the one hand a unique opportunity to become involved in the management of one of the key scientific programmes for humankind, but also a great challenge in terms of coordinating an extensive international research programme. In any case, I am convinced that my election to this position is also a reflection of the high standard of fusion research we have achieved in the Czech Republic over the last fifteen years,” says the newly elected Chair, Radomír Pánek.

The key role of the Chair
The Chair of the EUROfusion General Assembly plays a key role in coordinating the consortium’s scientific strategy and cooperation with EU Member States, the European Commission, and ITER, the world’s largest and most advanced fusion experiment. Fusion research is currently undergoing major developments worldwide and presents a number of new challenges due to increasing private investment, changes in the ITER project, and the intensive preparation of the European prototype DEMO fusion reactor.

“The development of a fusion power plant is crucial for humanity because it will provide an inexhaustible, completely safe, nearly emission-free, and very powerful source of energy. Fusion energy offers a solution to many of the problems associated with traditional methods of energy production and will play a key role in humanity’s sustainable and secure energy future,” the researcher added.

Years of experience
Prof. Radomír Pánek is an expert in the field of plasma physics and fusion technology. During his studies, he spent a number of stays in leading European fusion laboratories. Pánek has been serving as the director of the Institute of Plasma Physics of the CAS since 2015. At the institute, he led the COMPASS Tokamak installation project as well as the ongoing COMPASS Upgrade project. A tokamak is a device that generates a strong magnetic field that isolates extremely hot thermonuclear plasma from its surroundings. This principle will be used by the first fusion power plants.

In 2020, Pánek also became Vice-Chair of the Governing Board and Chair of the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) of the European Joint Undertaking Fusion for Energy (F4E). The organisation is based in Barcelona and is responsible for the European part of the delivery for the ITER tokamak, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in Cadarache, France. Pánek also chairs F4E’s Technical Advisory Panel and has represented Europe in the ITER Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee.

Prepared by: Zuzana Dupalová drawing on the CAS press release, External Relations Division, CAO of the CAS
Translated by: Tereza Novická, External Relations Division, CAO of the CAS
Photo: Jana Plavec, External Relations Division, CAO of the CAS

The Czech Academy of Sciences (the CAS)

The mission of the CAS

The primary mission of the CAS is to conduct research in a broad spectrum of natural, technical and social sciences as well as humanities. This research aims to advance progress of scientific knowledge at the international level, considering, however, the specific needs of the Czech society and the national culture.

President of the CAS

Prof. Eva Zažímalová has started her second term of office in May 2021. She is a respected scientist, and a Professor of Plant Anatomy and Physiology.

She is also a part of GCSA of the EU.