UKAEA awards contracts for fusion solutions

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has awarded contracts to seven organisations to develop their solutions and technologies to the ‘proof of concept’ stage.


The contracts, worth a total of £6.8m, have been awarded to organisations focusing on digital engineering and fusion fuel requirements to address fusion energy development challenges.

All challenges were launched through the Small Business Research Initiative Competition as ‘Innovation Competitions’.

The contracts are funded by the Fusion Industry Programme, which was launched in 2021 and forms part of the government’s £484m support package for UK science. According to the UKAEA, the programme is stimulating growth of the UK fusion industry by developing technology and skills for the future global fusion powerplant market.


The seven organisations stem from a range of start-ups, SMEs, established companies, and academia. The organisations focusing on digital engineering challenges include Full Matrix Ltd and Manchester University.

The organisations focusing on reducing fusion powerplant fuel requirements by researching advanced production and handling technologies for hydrogen isotopes include Gencoa Ltd, AqSorption Ltd, IS-Instruments Ltd, plus the Universities of Bristol and Liverpool.

In a statement, Tim Bestwick, UKAEA’s chief development officer, said: “Fusion has enormous promise as a source of sustainable, low-carbon energy for future generations.

“The second phase of the Fusion Industry Programme gives organisations the opportunity to take their proposals to the next stage in development with resultant awards of up to £1m. The awards…aim to engage the private sector on the technical challenges facing fusion energy’s development.”

This latest announcement follows the award of 18 Fusion Industry Programme contracts earlier this year for the development novel fusion materials, manufacturing techniques and innovative heating and cooling systems.

Interested parties have until July 19, 2023 to apply for the latest Fusion Industry Programme challenge, which aims to encourage innovation in the development of lithium technologies. Up to £1.5m for prototype development and evaluation is available to organisations, to ‘realise the potential of lithium in an economic, sustainable and scalable fusion energy fuel-cycle’.