CTU–UGent bilateral Joint Doctoral Programme in High-Temperature Plasma Physics and Thermonuclear Fusion

Overview

The CTU–UGent bilateral Joint Doctoral Programme in High-Temperature Plasma Physics and Thermonuclear Fusion (FUSION bJDP) is a joint doctoral programme between the Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU) and Ghent University (UGent). The programme covers a broad range of research topics regarding the development of nuclear fusion as a clean, safe and as good as inexhaustible source of energy by the middle of the century. This includes both the physics of fusion plasmas and the technology of fusion devices.

The main highlights of the programme are the following:

  • Research and training opportunities on an exceptionally broad range of topics.
  • Access to the joint research expertise and the research facilities available at the Organizing Institutions in two different countries (Czech Republic and Belgium),  as well as the various Partner Institutions within the European research area.
  • Participation in the FUSION E-DC joint doctoral training programme.
  • Embedding in a strong mobility programme, with ample opportunities for student networking and cultural exchange.
  • Delivery of a double PhD degree from the two Organizing Institutions.

The research and training is based on three pillars: theory, experimental physics and engineering technologies. Students are motivated to master the basics of each of the three pillars, irrespective of their prior background. The programme encourages independent work under the guidance of top-level European research teams, leading to research publications, advanced knowledge in a booming high-tech area with major societal relevance, mastering of a variety of technical and transferable skills, cultural exchange and, eventually, the double PhD degree.

Admission criteria

Admission to the FUSION-bJDP doctoral programme is relatively open, the main requirement being a master degree with a strong focus on physics or engineering. As such, a specific background in plasma physics or nuclear fusion is not a requirement.

Access to a new laboratory PlasmaLab@CTU shall further support this approach. Besides, a special attention is paid to nuclear issues in development of fusion reactors. Doctoral students enjoy relatively important freedom in their selection of optional courses, which should be linked to their dissertation topics. Last but not least, the partner the Ghent University shall organise an internship with a minimal duration of 6 months.

The doctoral programme is aimed at deepening of the knowledge and validation of skills that present a necessary condition to develop ability to perform a highly qualified individual and team work in the field of research and development of applications of high temperature plasmas as well as the related technological equipment. The programme underlines significant European dimension of the research in this field.

Candidate's profile

The graduates of this joint programme will receive both Ghent and CTU diplomas and their employment is foreseen in highly professional roles of creative researchers and engineers. The graduates enjoy a detailed overview of challenges of high temperature plasma applications, in particular in thermonuclear projects such as ITER. The programme also presents combination of profound theoretical basics with broad international dimension and interdisciplinary approach and offers experience with both individual and team work in a realistic international environment. Due to a significant share of engineering and hands-on work, the graduates will be able to find employment also beyond R&D institutes, in particular in high-tech industries.

Program description

How does studying at the joint doctoral programme Physics of High-Temperature Plasma and Thermonuclear Fusion, provided jointly with Ghent University in Belgium, differ from studying for a doctoral degree at each individual iniversity? The following points highlight the main differences:

  • The study is governed by an agreement between the two universities, signed by their rectors at the beginning of 2020 (reference to a full text?). A successful graduate will receive a full-fledged doctorate diploma from both universities.
  • The student must be accepted and registered at both universities. Both universities waive tuition fees. Students admitted and registered primarily at CTU are entitled to a doctoral scholarship in the same way as in another field of study. Ghent University only requires a one-time registration fee.
  • Master's degree in the field is not a condition, but education in the field of physics, applied sciences or engineering is required. The university at which the student registers first must also verify the language skills of English (either proved by diploma or within the admission interview), which must correspond to CERF level B2. CTU also requires, within the admission procedure, verification (nostrification) of education obtained at foreign universities, this procedure is provided by CTU  itself, however it requires two months.
  • The study program is managed by an international branch council, consisting of five representatives of the FNSPE CTU, five representatives of Ghent University and two external experts.
  • The topic of the dissertation and the supervisors are determined in the same way as in other doctoral programs, however they are subject to the approval of the international subject council, which also regularly monitors the student's progress in the work.
  • Each student must take introductory courses, corresponding to a total of 18 European Credits (ECTS) - typically 12 for vocational subjects and 6 for transferable skills (including languages). If the university does not award ECTS, the Departmental Council determines the number of ECTS credits.
  • Each student must spend a total of at least six months during their studies at a partner university or in a laboratory designated by the partner university.
  • Each student must pass the state doctoral examination according to the study regulations of the Czech Technical University, as well as the defense of the dissertation, and the public defense of the dissertation according to the rules of Ghent University. The examination commissions are set up by the international council, while respecting the study regulations of the both  universities.

Contacts

The main coordinator of the program at the University of Ghent is prof. Dr. Geert Verdoolaege, from the Department of Applied Physics, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at the University of Ghent, Geert.Verdoolaege@UGent.be.

The guarantor of the joint program at the FNSPE CTU is doc. RNDr. Jan Mlynar, Ph.D. from the Department of Physics, Faculty of Nuclear and Physical Engineering, CTU in Prague, jan.mlynar@fjfi.cvut.cz.

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