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The Vanderbilt Fusion Project

Research Initiative & Engineering Project Team

At the Vanderbilt Fusion Project, we're building an inertial electrostatic confinement fusion reactor. That means we use the power of electrostatic forces to create plasma, and then accelerate ions to mind-blowing velocities. However, Vandy Fusion is more than just a miniature particle accelerator and dynamic test platform. We're a community passionate about innovation and pushing our limits: a group of engineers and entrepreneurs, artists and scientists. Together, we are the Vanderbilt Fusion Project.

Our Mission

Innovation that Inspires. The Vanderbilt Fusion Project is Vanderbilt University's premier student-led research initiative and engineering project team. Together, we're on a mission to make history at Vanderbilt by building a functional nuclear fusion reactor. Besides serving as a cross-disciplinary research test platform for innovative research, our reactor will be a powerful tool to inspire others. We'll be able to showcase the power of the stars in a safe, stable system about the size of a soccer ball. From jets of brilliant purple plasma to the glow of deuterium-deuterium nuclei fusing, our reactor is designed to inspire. 

At the Vanderbilt Fusion Project, we’re building a community of innovators and problem solvers working together to accomplish something incredible. When we succeed, we’ll have fused atoms together at hundreds of millions of degrees celsius, created a cutting-edge research platform, and formed a team of next-generation leaders. The Vanderbilt Fusion Project represents the culture of intersectionality and real-world research that makes Vanderbilt stand out today, all while embodying the spirit of innovation that’s driving our university forward into the future. The Vanderbilt Fusion Project embraces the motto “dare to grow,” as we push ourselves to explore, innovate, and create.

Our Story

Cutting-edge research and engineering should be possible for everyone. It's this simple belief that kickstarted the Vanderbilt Fusion Project. Our founders wanted to create a project that wouldn't only enable next-generation research for new labs and groups, but would also prove that anyone can create something incredible when they work with a team.

Once completed, our reactor platform will open up new research paradigms with applications ranging from nanotechnology to renewable energy. Nuclear Fusion provides the extreme environment and unique particle source conditions necessary to expand the frontiers of science, and our miniature, low-cost reactor will let any research group explore these new horizons. 

Additionally, the Vanderbilt Fusion Project's role as an interdisciplinary project team has been woven into its DNA since day one. For our team, the journey is just as important as the atom-smashing destination, and we strive to create an environment where our team members can grow, innovate, and explore. The Vanderbilt Fusion Project is a unique, hands-on learning environment, and provides unmatched real-world experiences to our team members. From plasma physics to business communications, our team members gain the skills and experiences they need to excel as engineers, innovators, and leaders. 

December 2021 - May 2022

June 2022 - August 2022

September 2022 - October 2022

After deciding to launch the Vanderbilt Fusion Project, our leadership team moved quickly to build a team passionate about the project, and then secure the University relationships necessary to launch our project. In February 2022, the Vanderbilt Fusion Project became an official Vanderbilt Student Organization and Engineering Project Team. 

Over the summer, our team refined our strategic vision and executed background research. We developed a Nuclear Fusion Boot Camp and training materials for new members, in preparation of growing the organization at the start of the fall semester.

The Vanderbilt Fusion Project officially launched in September of 2022. We doubled the size of our team through a competitive, multi-phase recruiting process, and successfully onboarded incredible new members. We quickly moved into the research & design phase of the project and began designing the reactor and establishing the technical requirements. 

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