Anagrafe della ricerca

FusEUrope - European cooperation in nuclear fusion research: from history to future policy design

24 mesi (2025)
Responsabile scientifico:
Tipo di progetto:
PNRR – Missione 4
Ente finanziatore:
MINISTERO (Ministero dell'Università e della Ricerca)
Codice identificativo progetto:
Ruolo PoliTo:


FusEUrope is a multidisciplinary analysis of the history of techno-scientific cooperation in nuclear fusion energy research for pacific uses in Europe in relation to the process of European political integration, from its early phases at EURATOM in 1957 up to the establishment of ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) in 2007. The results of the historical & epistemological analyses will be used to frame a multi-national survey in five EU countries on the public acceptability of controlled thermonuclear research, which will identify policy recommendations the EU level. Nuclear fusion is considered a future viable solution for a sustainable provision of large amounts of energy with relatively minor environmental impact, and historians have claimed nuclear fusion research to be central in the European integration process. Yet, the history of European cooperation on fusion research has been rarely addressed by professional historians. Its long-term history is terra incognita and no attempt has been made to connect the history of science to the history of international relations. Also, nuclear fusion not only faces the hurdle of developing a technology considered "always 20 years away", but it must also overcome a strong "double bias" against large infrastructure projects & nuclear energy. Win over public support represents the largest non-technical challenge in fusion energy development, and therefore identifying the conditions under which public acceptability is achieved is critical, yet severely under-studied. We plan to address these shortcomings by pursuing six research objectives: RO1 Create historical maps of international cooperation in nuclear fusion energy research and identify key actors, groups, and techno-scientific objects using quantitative tools based on network theory as well as qualitative methods based on close reading and oral history; RO2 Elucidate the role of fusion energy research in the foreign policy of major European states; RO3 Identify key moments of negotiations and understand the interplay of techno-scientific and political agendas in their resolutions; RO4 Determine the basic options that the actors involved in the nuclear fusion research had available for designing social environments capable of promoting their techno-scientific aims; RO5 Analyze the causal impact on public opinion of alternative fusion cooperation designs derived by RO1-4 through a survey experiment; RO6 Produce policy recommendations based on the results of RO5. Once completed, the project will fill a knowledge gap in the historiography of science and of European integration. The results of the survey will inform EU policy-making and communication strategies on fusion energy, successfully translating historical analysis into actionable policy recommendations.

Persone coinvolte

Strutture coinvolte


  • Università  degli Studi di MACERATA

Parole chiave

Settori ERC

SH6_14 - History of Science, Medicine and Technologies
SH6_10 - Global history, transnational history, comparative history, entangled histories
SH2_5 - International relations, global and transnational governance

Obiettivi di Sviluppo Sostenibile (Sustainable Development Goals)

Obiettivo 16. Promuovere società pacifiche e inclusive per uno sviluppo sostenibile


Costo totale progetto: € 263.926,00
Contributo totale progetto: € 263.926,00
Costo totale PoliTo: € 164.944,00
Contributo PoliTo: € 164.944,00