Source: AIP | Andrea Peterson | April 7, 2020

The U.S. plasma science community has achieved a major milestone in its effort to forge a long-term consensus strategic plan, agreeing on a set of priorities that will now be shaped into formal recommendations for the Department of Energy.

Scientists work inside the hutch housing the Matter in Extreme Conditions instrument at the Linac Coherent Light Source. The instrument supports studies of high energy density plasmas and is part of the nascent LaserNetUS network.

Scientists work inside the hutch housing the Matter in Extreme Conditions instrument at the Linac Coherent Light Source. The instrument supports studies of high energy density plasmas and is part of the nascent LaserNetUS network. (Image credit – SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

U.S. plasma science researchers concluded the first phase of a major strategic planning effort last month with the publication of the “Community Plan for Fusion Energy and Discovery Plasma Sciences.” The report was assembled through a 15 month process organized by the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics, soliciting broad community input through workshops and white papers.

The Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC) will now use the report to develop formal recommendations for the Department of Energy’s Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES). The work will be done through a FESAC subcommittee charged with producing a 10 year strategic plan outlining investment priorities under two budgetary growth trajectories and an unconstrained scenario. The subcommittee aims to deliver the final product by the end of this year.

Modeled on successful planning processes used by DOE’s nuclear and high energy physics programs, FES hopes the two-phase exercise will help forge consensus within a community that it believes has lacked one for too long.

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