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IAEA Holds, in Costa Rica, First Nuclear Knowledge Management School in Latin America

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The IAEA’s pioneering School of Nuclear Knowledge Management for the Central American and Caribbean region was held on 3–7 December 2018 in Costa Rica. Half the participants and over 60% of the experts were women, reflecting a drive towards addressing gender balance in the region’s nuclear sector. (Photo: National University of Costa Rica)

The IAEA carried its School of Nuclear Knowledge Management to the Central American and Caribbean region, with a pioneering programme held in December 2018 in Costa Rica.

The school attracted 22 participants from 8 countries of the region, and experts from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica and Spain contributed as lecturers. Half the participants and over 60% of the experts were women, reflecting a drive towards addressing gender balance in the region’s nuclear sector.

The course was delivered in a blended approach, combining an online pre-training and a classroom phase, which enabled the participants to apply the acquired theory and insights and to promote active engagement with peers and experts. More than 60% of the face-to-face stage was devoted to case studies and practical exercises, including those from and beyond the nuclear industry.

“The creation of knowledge will be increasingly faster; and consequently, knowledge will also be lost at a faster pace,” said Lydia Paredes Gutierrez, from Mexico’s National Institute for Nuclear Research (ININ), and the president of the IAEA-sponsored Regional Cooperation Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARCAL).

“So, recovering the tacit knowledge possessed by the generations that we have trained, and transferring it to the new generations becomes more and more important.”

Running from 3 to 7 December, the school provided the participants with the basic notions of nuclear knowledge management, strategies and tools to determine the risk of loss of critical knowledge, and methodologies for its capture and retention. The influence of organizational culture on a knowledge management programme, as well as the importance of intellectual property and its relationship with knowledge management were also highlighted.

“This type of training is very important for Latin America,” said David Drury, Head of the IAEA’s Nuclear Knowledge Management Section. “Despite differences in the levels of development of nuclear technology and applications, most countries in the region face similar organizational challenges. There is a high risk of loss of knowledge due to retiring specialized personnel, generational gaps, so the culture of knowledge sharing must be supported.”

Berta García Rodríguez, from Cuba’s Nuclear Energy and Advanced Technologies Agency AENTA had a concrete take-away: “What we have acquired through the school will be very useful as we are considering setting up a knowledge management system in nuclear institutions that are very important in Cuba, such as the isotope production centre and the diagnostic centre that will have the first cyclotron in the country.”

The school, carried out under a regional IAEA technical cooperation project1, was supported by the Latin American Network of Education in Nuclear Technology LANENT, and hosted by the Physics Department of the National University (UNA) and the Atomic Energy Commission of Costa Rica (CEA).

The 15th episode of the flagship “Joint ICTP–IAEA Nuclear Knowledge Management School” will be held from 4 to 9 August 2019, in Trieste, Italy, for young professionals in current or future leading roles in managing nuclear knowledge. Later in the year, a second school on nuclear knowledge management is also planned for the South American sub-region.

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1 RLA0057, ‘Enhancing Nuclear Education, Training, Outreach and Knowledge Management’

Recovering the tacit knowledge possessed by the generations that we have trained, and transferring it to the new generations becomes more and more important.
Lydia Paredes Gutierrez, ININ Mexico, President of ARCAL

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