A PhD at SPC ?

The Swiss Plasma Center (SPC) is the Swiss national competence centre for plasma physics and fusion and, at the same time, it is an important part of a world-class academic institution, the EPFL, in which it is also geographically integrated. As a consequence, SPC is in a privileged position to provide education and training over a large spectrum of plasma physics and fusion related subjects, using world-class research infrastructure and proficient supervision.

Performing a Ph.D. in plasma physics at SPC means bringing an important contribution to one of the most challenging projects that mankind is facing today: solving the energy problem by lighting a Star on our planet. It means addressing a number of unsolved exciting problems, which range from the investigations of basic physics phenomena to finding the solution to practical engineering puzzles. In fusion research, experimental and theoretical investigations proceed side by side, in a fruitful collaboration that allows an almost immediate experimental feedback to theoretical discoveries, which in turn are constantly triggered by new experimental measurements. Fusion also means dealing with the most advanced technologies, the most extreme conditions for matter found in our Universe, the largest experiments built on our planet, and the largest computer simulations.

Creativity, strong analytical skills, good physical intuition are necessary elements to succeed in plasma physics research.

The importance of the SPC education role is reflected by the large number of Ph.D. students working at the SPC, which varies around 30, out of a total of about 120 personnel. The theses are supervised by the SPC academic staff, including two full professors, one Assistant Professor, one professeur titulaire (adjunct professor) and several Maîtres d’Enseignement et de Recherche (senior scientists), who are entitled to act as thesis directors.

The SPC offers six graduate courses, including advanced theoretical plasma physics, tokamak physics, diagnostics, fusion technology and industrial plasma applications, see the Doctoral Courses pages. This is part of the complete undergraduate and graduate curriculum covering plasma physics for bachelor, master and doctoral level students that the SPC is able to offer (SPC offers three courses and laboratory projects at bachelor and master levels for physics students, and one course for nuclear engineering students, see the Bachelor & Master page).

SPC is also contributing to an increased coordination between institutions that offer fusion education in Europe and internationally, through the Fusenet European Fusion Education Network.