Design, build and run the world’s first student-led fusion energy reactor. Fusion energy is the ultimate solution to clean energy, and it’s closer than you think. Help accelerate its development, work with world-leading companies and start-ups, and break new world records.

VIP ChallENG research goals

Our team aims make the worlds first fusion reactor entirely designed, built, and operated by students. And do so in 2 years. You will develop innovative solutions to engineering challenges across many engineering disciplines, work closely with industry partners, and be part a vibrant team of enthusiastic and dedicated people who want to push the boundaries of what is possible with fusion energy. This project will support R&D for several start-ups in the fast-paced world of the fusion industry, with an estimated value nearing US$1 trillion by 2040. Fusion energy is no longer a scientific curiosity, it is a real engineering solution to decarbonise our electricity. The only thing holding it back, are engineering challenges, and you can help accelerate their development.

Research, design & technical issues

Model, design, build, test the following components:

  1. High-field electromagnets
  2. Plasma diagnostics
  3. Mechanical structures
  4. High and low voltage, high current, electrical power supplies
  5. Electronics
  6. Plasma control systems
  7. Low level control systems

Assembly integration and testing

Model plasma physics

Model magnets

Develop data acquisition and storage

ChallENG Area

Vertically Integrated Projects

Research Areas

Nuclear fusion energy | Structural mechanical design | Electromagnet physics | Electromagnet materials science | High voltage, high current electrical power supplies | Low voltage, high current electrical power supplies | Plasma physics and plasma control engineering | Plasma diagnostics | Vacuum and fuelling system | Plasma current drive and heating physics and engineering

United Nations Development Goals

  • Affordable and Clean Energy: SDG7
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: SDG9


✔ 6 UoC per course 


Professional Development

•    Teamwork
•    Leadership
•    Design
•    Communication
•    Integrity
•    Innovation and excellence
•    Diversity
•    Respect
•    Resilience


  • Mechanical engineering
  • Mechatronics
  • Electronics and electrical engineering
  • Materials engineering and science
  • Computer science and software engineering
  • Physics
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Design, Industrial Design, Media


  • Mechanical design
  • Solid mechanics
  • Manufacturing Systems engineering
  • CAD
  • Programming (python, MATLAB, C, C++)
  • Control systems
  • High voltage, high current electrical power supplies
  • Low voltage, high current electrical power supplies
  • Electronics design and manufacturing
  • Plasma physics
  • Plasma diagnostics
  • Magnets physics
  • Magnets mechanical design
  • Magnets modelling
  • Data acquisition and storage

Team Academic Lead

Patrick Burr

Associate Professor

Project Lead

+61 2 9385 0918

Prof. John Fletcher

School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications

+61 2 9385 6007

Dr Carly Vickers

School of Art and Design

Prof. Matthew Kearnes

School of Humanities and Languages

Richard Hopkins

Professor of Practice

UNSW Engineering

Dr Emma Lovell

School of Chemical Engineering

A/Prof Julian Berengut

School of Physics

Apply now