Spinning the Digital Thread for Fusion - Oxfordshire Branch

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How Digital Capability will be central to delivering STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production)

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Paul Methven CB, Director of the STEP Programme


19:30 - Webinar Starts

21:00 - Webinar Ends


New types of sustainable energy generation are required to tackle global warming and the climate emergency. The STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) is an ambitious programme to design and construct a prototype fusion energy plant, which aims to demonstrate the subsequent commercial viability of the technology.

STEP is expected to be the first fusion energy plant connected to a national grid and represents the move out of the research phase and the advent of the delivery era for nuclear fusion.

In this talk, Paul will give an overview of the STEP programme, its inherent technical challenges and how effective digital management might solve them.

He will reflect on learnings from other complex technical mega-programmes and how a coordinated approach to the digital aspects will support effective manufacture, commissioning, and in-service operations of STEP.

Good digital management could eventually become as much a source of value as the physical fusion energy plant as the world moves to make fusion a commercial reality. He’ll also cover some of the potential pitfalls and risks in technical mega-programmes which might result from “digital myopia”.


Paul is the Director of the STEP Programme at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). He joined UKAEA from a prestigious career in the Royal Navy, rising from operational tours on sea-going submarines to complex programme leadership, culminating as Director Submarines Acquisition in the rank of Rear Admiral. He was made a Companion of the most honourable Order of the Bath in the 2019 New Year’s Honours.

Our events are for adults aged 16 years and over.


BCS Oxfordshire Branch


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Organiser BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

Organiser of Spinning the Digital Thread for Fusion - Oxfordshire Branch

We are all responsible for ensuring technology-led change is safe and positive for everyone in society. At BCS we’re committed to meeting this responsibility under royal charter.

That’s why we set the highest standards of professionalism and best practice in the industry, share knowledge, and develop skills and capability tuned to our evolving digital world.

We’ve been supporting the technology industry since 1957 and our 73,000-strong membership spans 150 countries. Every member actively promotes IT professionalism and we provide them with career development opportunities and bring the community together to address the professional, ethical and economic challenges facing technology today.

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