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Celebrating a Decade of Success In Knowledge Transfer


The School of Nuclear Knowledge Management celebrates its 10th Anniversary in Trieste, Italy. (Photo: M. Vojtela/IAEA)

Over the last ten years, bright young professionals from around the world have been selected each year to take part in a week-long specialized training and educational programme in the field of nuclear knowledge management. Known as the School of Nuclear Knowledge Management (SNKM), the certificate programme is jointly organized by the IAEA and the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) at the seaport city of Trieste, Italy. Aimed at preparing the participants for implementing knowledge management programmes in nuclear science and technology, the School provides an opportunity to gain practical and theoretical skills and learn from renowned specialists in the nuclear field.

This year's SNKM, which took place from 25 to 29 August 2014, marked the 10th anniversary of the School, coinciding with the ICTP's 50th anniversary inScience for Development.

In his welcoming remarks, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano spoke on the significance of nuclear knowledge management as an essential component of safety in the nuclear sector, and also addressed how the joint IAEA-ICTP school assists Member States in building their capacities for better management of nuclear knowledge for science and technology. He underscored the role of the School and stated, "This School is one of many tools the IAEA uses to help countries preserve and share nuclear knowledge and expertise. It is an important part of the IAEA's work to support the safe, responsible and sustainable use of nuclear energy."

This year, alumni were also invited to participate. Their presentations focused on the successes and challenges faced in implementing NKM projects in their organizations since completing the programme. They highlighted the value of the School and provided essential feedback on its content, and made suggestions for improvement.

Since its inception, the School has attracted and trained more than 350 professionals from over 70 Member States. The process for selecting participants has evolved over time to include an online pre-training course, which is a pre-requisite for attending the School. Since its introduction in 2011, the training course has helped to ensure that those participants share a strong common knowledge base.

As joint organizers of the School, the IAEA, supported by its Technical Cooperation programme, and the ICTP have continually collaborated to successfully bring together a diverse and gender-balanced group of professionals coming from various areas such as regulators, research and development, nuclear applications, nuclear power plants and universities. In 2014, the two organizations supported the participation of 42 professionals from 28 countries.

It is expected that interest in the School will continue to grow among professionals as well as universities, following a trend of steady growth since the School's founding. This year, a record-high of 160 applications were received. Similarly, adding to the recognition already given by other universities, the Academic Council of The National Research Nuclear University "MEPhI" (Russian Federation) has approved the School as an accredited part of its continuous education system.

Nuclear knowledge management is an important aspect of safely operating and maintaining nuclear facilities. It allows for more effective and informed decision-making during the development, operation and decommissioning of a nuclear facility. Through programmes like SNKM, the IAEA works with its partners to create opportunities for developing this knowledge and building capacities within Member States, helping to ensure the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The next IAEA-ICTP School will take place from 7 to 11 September 2015.

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