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IAEA Fosters Collaboration Agreement Among Regional Nuclear Education Networks

Nuclear Education Networks

The IAEA promotes partnerships among nuclear education and training institutions across the globe. It has directly fostered regional educational networks in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The IAEA works closely with educators around the world to foster global collaboration among universities, including facilitating infrastructure development and funding support for regional education networks. As part of these ongoing efforts, regional education networks fostered by the IAEA in Asia (ANENT), Africa (AFRA-NEST), Latin-American (LANENT), Eastern Europe and Central Asia (STAR-NET), have now joined forces with national networks to advance their cooperation in nuclear education, training, research and outreach.

“Nuclear educational networks benefit from working together, sharing good practices, resources and opportunities for capacity building and effective nuclear education,” Huang Wei, Director of the IAEA Division of Planning, Information and Knowledge Management, said on 25 February after the networks signed a Collaboration Agreement facilitated by the Agency. “By working together, these networks contribute to the promotion, management and preservation of nuclear knowledge and help to ensure that talented and qualified personnel are available for the safe and sustainable use of nuclear technology.”

Through meetings, publications and a set of activities implemented under the IAEA technical cooperation programme , the IAEA supports these educational networks, which enjoy strong partnerships with the other educational groups, now all signatories of the agreement: the European Nuclear Education Network (ENEN), the UK Nuclear Technology Education Consortium (NTEC), the Belgium Nuclear Higher Education Network (BNEN, SCK•CEN) and the University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE). All of them facilitate and widen access to nuclear education and technology by developing initiatives around STEM careers, innovative educational technologies in nuclear education, exchange of information, teaching materials, and enhanced international opportunities for the mobility and exchange of students, teachers and researchers, and internship programmes with due consideration to gender mainstreaming.

Under their 25 February agreement, eight networks pledged to collaborate on a variety of topics. These include leadership and management skills; research and development on nuclear education and nuclear technology; sharing information, teaching materials and tools for education, training and outreach related to nuclear technology; and exchanging students, teachers and researchers. The agreement’s work plan will be reviewed and agreed by the networks annually.

“This will enable the global education community to further capitalise on the results and experiences gained not only by the regional networks, but also national consortia and their robust and long-established ties within the nuclear industry,” said Wei Huang.

Membership and terms vary from network to network, but typically, members are academic institutions within the individual regions and sometimes beyond. Networks have coordinating bodies for their governance and working groups that focus on specific categories of activities.

Working together “enhances the standards of nuclear education and effective capacity building in the nuclear sector,” said Jerry Hopwood, President of UNENE, a Canada-based alliance of universities, utilities and research and regulatory agencies. “UNENE is increasingly linking with like-minded organisations around the world and the IAEA has been a pioneer for us in helping encourage greater cooperation among nuclear education networks.”

The collective efforts of nuclear education networks have led to the establishment of the Ener-Connect initiative. Over the last three years, Ener-Connect has brought together nuclear professionals and students from throughout the world through webinars, podcasts and live events to share knowledge and introduce experts, scholars, students and engineers to global peers. Networks have also collectively developed an electronic catalogue of outreach initiatives towards primary and secondary school pupils and teachers, as well as the general public.

The IAEA promotes partnerships among nuclear education and training institutions across the globe, enabling the sharing of valuable experiences, best practices, educational materials and tools through regional and interregional cooperation. The Agency also offers dedicated webinars on its educational activities, including education networks, as well as other topics related to nuclear knowledge management.

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