“The IFMIF-DONES governance model should relate to the governance of a research program, not of a facility”

Tonči Tadić, Croatian fusion Research Unit (CRU) coordinator

Tonči Tadić is the coordinator of the Croatian Fusion Research Unit (CRU) and researcher at Ruđer Bošković Institute, one of the largest multidisciplinary research centres in Croatia. In 2009 he participated in signing a MoU between Croatia and Japan on strategic collaboration in science and was Croatia’s principal investigator in different Croatian-Japanese bilateral projects. He was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by Japanese Emperor in 2014 for his promotion of scientific collaboration between Europe and Japan.

Tadic is member of Fusion for Energy and, as member of the General Assembly of EUROfusion Consortium for H2020, he coordinates Croatian teams and in WPMAT (Fusion Materials) and WPENS (Early Neutron Source – DONES) projects. He is also the coordinator of the work package related to IFMIF-DONES governance, within the framework of the DONES-PreP project.

– IFMIF-DONES has made it clear that collaboration between scientific institutions and countries is essential. Croatia and Spain have joined forces to put forward Granada’s candidacy. Was this a key step for the facility to be considered a priority by ESFRI?

– ESFRI positively responded to such synergy of efforts of two European nations. Two national institutes RBI and CIEMAT, as well as Ministers of Science from Croatia and Spain signed MoUs on collaboration on DONES and fusion. In both MoUs we considered that location at Granada is better, and that instead of competition between two locations we need joining of our efforts in European interest. Candidacy of IFMIF-DONES for introduction to EFSRI Roadmap was thus jointly supported by Spain and Croatia and jointly lobbied for by representatives of both countries at European level. RBI and CIEMAT both consider that making of IFMIF-DONES a priority by ESFRI was perhaps the most important move, since it has turned attention of all European nations to the fact that IFMIF-DONES is a European necessity. Joint European approach for IFMIF-DONES – a key European fusion facility is a logical assumption, better to say a requirement, since it would enable uniting of resources of several European nations.

– Besides strengthening Granada’s candidacy to host IFMIF-DONES, how was the collaboration between Croatia and Spain organised concerning fusion energy matters?

– Areas of Collaboration are defined at MoU signed by two Ministers of Science, encompassing the DONES project, R&D on fusion material studies and R&D on plasma physics. The Signatories stressed mutual interest of both countries for development of the DONES project in Europe as soon as possible, on a basis of coordinated strategy to reach this objective. Programs on fusion materials research with special emphasis in ion-irradiation effects in materials will be developed as well, including the construction and exploitation of specific ion sources which are especially relevant in the EU Fusion Program, like DiFU dual-beam facility for ion irradiation of fusion materials, commissioned at RBI, Zagreb in May 2020. Collaboration in R&D on plasma physics and other fusion related topics includes Croatian participation in exploitation of the TJ-II plasma device at CIEMAT, Madrid, premises. Scientific collaboration in all mentioned fields has already started. Besides, the MoU aims to mutual collaboration in the general exchange of research scientists and students, promotion of the industrial involvement in big-science facilities, collaboration on development of research facilities, as well as promotion of mutual participation in international projects in the area of fusion energy research.

– The DONES-Prep project has 16 collaborating entities from Europe. What is the role of Ruđer Bošković Institute?

– RBI has a leading roles in WP3.0 “Evaluation of DONES Governance” and WP9.0  “Support facilities and exploitation of results”. Besides, RBI coordinates tasks in several WPs, i.e. tasks “Overal structure”, “Management models” and “Human resources strategy and planning” within WP3.0, task “Legal form of DONES” within WP4.0 “Evaluation of Legal framework”, task “Off-site support facilities” within WP9.0, and task “Reporting” within WP1.0 “DONES-PP Project management”. The last one includes setting up and maintenance of Integrated Data Management (IDM) server for the DONES PreP Project.

– Mr. Tadić, you are the coordinator of the work package that will evaluate the governance of the project. How will this be managed? Other aspects will also have to be defined, such as the management model of the facility, planning of human resources or access to the facility.

– Concerning the Governance model for IFMIF-DONES several boundary conditions have to be satisfied. The first is the fact that IFMIF-DONES cannot and will not be an ERIC facility, i.e. we cannot implement just so in “copy-paste” way governance models developed for European ESFRI facilities which are also ERIC facilities like the European Spallation Source (ESS) or the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI). In both cases the EC adopted the Directives for ESS and ELI, respectively, which regulates governance structure of these ERIC – ESFRI facilities. Namely, IFMIF-DONES will be a Euroatom facility. Now, Article 10 of Euratom Treaty provides that Euratom may, by contract, entrust the carrying out of certain parts of its research programme to Member States, persons or undertakings, or to third countries, international organisations or nationals of third countries. There are no limitations prescribed in this or other articles of the Treaty who should be the legal entity to whom Euratom entrusts such tasks, neither are governance models predefined. It is necessary to establish DONES Legal Entity (DEL), an institution for integration, construction and operation of IFMIF-DONES, according to the Spanish law. The second boundary condition is that we are free to conceive a new governance model suited for IFMIF-DONES, i.e. suited for Spain as the host country as well as suited for all other partner countries involved in this project, as well as for EUROfusion and Fusion for Energy (F4E). The third boundary condition is that IFMIF-DONES is a European facility. The governance model should enable European research and development of fusion materials at the IFMIF-DONES with clear rules of participation of partner countries in construction and exploitation of the facility at Granada, taking into account needs of European fusion community. The fourth boundary condition is that aside of The Facility in Granada we would have a network of support facilities in partner countries. The IFMIF-DONES governance model therefore relates to governing of a research program, not governing of a facility. The fifth boundary is necessity to create an open governance model, which provides possibility for access of additional partners in and out of Europe. The Management model i.e. regulation of management below of the IFMIF-DONES Programme Manager, as well as Human Resources Strategy need to satisfy requirements for smooth construction, operation and maintenance of all IFMIF-DONES facilities at Granada. 

– What governance models are being considered? What implications do the different governance models have?

– Looking for the IFMIF-DONES Governance model means looking for good examples of governance models at ESS and ELI, but also at the European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL), as well as at the Broader Approach Agreement and respective regulation of EU-Japan collaboration in the field of fusion research. Implications varies from definition and structure of legal entity like company, association or institution to decision making and key bodies, from basic documents like joint convention or declaration to various mechanisms and legal documents ensuring procurement of components and financial aspects.

– Identifying international partners is another task to be accomplished in DONES-PreP. What strategy has been drawn up to attract new partners?

– An open Governance model for the IFMIF-DONES would enable access to this project of additional partners in and out of Europe. New partners would be interested for participation due to understanding of the unique role of IFMIF-DONES in the European Fusion Roadmap, not only in sense of R&D on fusion materials, but also due to possible participation in the development of various high-tech components and advanced technologies required for operation of the IFMIF-DONES. Besides, IFMIS-DONES as high-flux neutron source enables various non-fusion i.e. complementary research projects, each with separate networks of partners. The strategy is simple: promotion of the IMIF-DONES and spreading of these clear messages related to the possibility of participation in fusion and non-fusion research projects.

– Are there any steps being taken to ensure the collaboration between Spain and Japan for the construction of IFMIF-DONES in Granada?

– There was official Spanish-Japanese meeting at QST-IFMIF in Rokkasho, Japan, in April 2019, where delegations of Spanish CIEMAT and Japanese QST discussed collaboration on the development of European IFMIF-DONES and Japanese IFMIF-AFNS. One of conclusions of that meeting was joint Euro-Japanese workshop held in the last week of August 2019 at QST-IFMIF in Rokkasho, Japan where for the first time met both IFMIF projects’ teams i.e. DONES and AFNS. I should stress here that each European country involved in DONES PreP did its own campaign of “fusion diplomacy” related to European collaboration with Japan on the development of IFMIF-DONES. The first joint DONES-AFNS workshop held in Rokkasho in August 2019 shows that this collaboration gives results. The next one to be held in Granada in October 2020 would be continuation of friendly relations of fusion research communities in EU and Japan. We should, however, consider that both the DONES and the AFNS, regardless of their importance for fusion research program, are not the goals but the key milestones. The goal, in my opinion, would be the Joint Euro-Japanese long-term program of development of fusion materials. By long-term I mean 20 years  long coherent program of research and development of fusion materials, which would require synergy of research efforts in EU and Japan, in  mutual interest.

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