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Personal profile


“Fusion energy has phenomenal world-saving potential, but is also phenomenally difficult to realise. A perfect challenge for the socially motivated engineer.”

Research profile

Niek Lopes Cardozo is full professor of 'Science and Technology of Nuclear Fusion' in the Applied Physics department of Eindhoven University of Technology. He has more than 40 years experience in fusion research, authored 100+ papers and supervised 35+ PhD theses. Former leader of the Dutch fusion research programme (2001-2009), he was member of the top-level European fusion governance committees, including as vice-chair of the Governing Board of the European Domestic Agency for ITER ‘Fusion for Energy’. He received the 2003 Koninklijke/Shell prize for sustainable development and energy research.

At TU/e he has established the interdisciplinary 2-year Fusion Master program, with an intake of >25 international students per year. He has initiated the European Fusion Education Network FUSENET (60+ members) and the consortium ITER-NL, in which Dutch research institutes collaborate with industry for the ITER project.

In recent years his research focus has been on the (economical) prospects of fusion energy, in view of the outstanding technical challenges on the one hand and the progress in other energy technologies on the other.

As major responsibility beside his university position, he chaired the Dutch Organisation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), then the physics branch of NWO, from 2010 to 2017. In that role he also chaired the interdisciplinary NWO research theme Sustainable Energy and was member of the leading energy-related committees in the Netherlands, including the ‘regieteam’ of the Topsector Energy.

In the period 2017-2020 he was member of the Executive Board of NWO, chairing the Science Domain which comprises Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Mathematics, Computer Science, Biology and Geophysics.

Academic background

Niek Lopes Cardozo holds an MSc degree in Experimental Physics (1981) and a PhD on a nuclear fusion topic (1985) from Utrecht University. He worked as a postdoc on the Joint European Torus in Culham (UK) for two years before returning to FOM-Rijnhuizen in 1987, where he later became head of the Fusion Physics department. Lopes Cardozo started as part-time professor at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in 1994 and became Full Professor and chair of Science and Technology of Nuclear Fusion in 2009. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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