You are here

IAEA Launches Workshop to Train New Talents in the Application of Atoms for Development, Targeting Women


For many of the participating professionals and young scientists, their visit to the IPEN facilities was the first opportunity to see a research reactor in operation. (Photo: R.S. Aledo/IAEA)

A technically-skilled, highly-motivated workforce is necessary for the continued success of any industry, and the nuclear field is no exception: it relies on the engagement of students and young professionals to ensure its sustainability. To support the development of new talent for the continued peaceful application of nuclear technologies, the IAEA organized a Workshop for Future Nuclear Leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean from 11 to 15 February in São Paulo, Brazil, to identify, support and strengthen the role played by young professionals, particularly women, in the promotion and implementation of nuclear applications in the region.

Organized through the Regional Cooperation Agreement for the Promotion of Science and Nuclear Technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARCAL), the workshop was supported through an ongoing technical cooperation project [1] and the United States of America. Hosted by the Nuclear and Energy Research Institute (IPEN) of Brazil, the event was attended by 46 young professionals from nine Member States, including Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The attendees, all potential ‘future leaders’ in the nuclear field, presently work in universities or public institutions involved in human health, agriculture or other areas in which nuclear technologies are peacefully and productively applied. Following their participation in the workshop—which focused on demonstrating the nuclear techniques used by Member States to address development challenges, including isotope hydrology, food irradiation and radiotherapy—the young professionals in attendance are expected to become advocates for greater engagement with nuclear science by their respective institutions.

History has shown us that the participation of women has enriched science and nuclear technologies through pioneering contributions.
Epsy Campbell Barr, Vice President of the Republic of Costa Rica

The workshop's itinerary included a number of hands-on, interactive group activities, designed to equip the participants with critical leadership skills. (Photo: R.S. Aledo/IAEA)

Of the attendees, 37 were women and nine were men. “The IAEA is committed to achieving gender parity, and the Agency takes measures to implement gender mainstreaming into all of its programmatic work,” said Luis Longoria, Director of the Division for Latin America and the Caribbean. “These measures include promoting the involvement of more women scientists in technical cooperation projects. For this reason, we prioritized the inclusion of young, female professionals in this workshop, which commenced on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.”

In her opening message to the workshop, the Vice President of Costa Rica, Epsy Campbell Barr, encouraged the participation of these young professionals, highlighting the growing need to interface with all groups, at all levels, in fields related to the application of nuclear technology. “History has shown us that the participation of women has enriched science and nuclear technologies through pioneering contributions. Education in science and technology has a multiplier effect that enables both equal opportunities for everyone, as well as the eradication of poverty,” she said.

Leslie Vironneau, from the Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission (CCHEN), applauded the initiative taken in organizing the workshop and added: “The idea of ​​strengthening people in different thematic areas with leadership potential is excellent, due mainly to the generational change we are experiencing in the region and in the world.”

Nelida del Mastro and Berta Garcia, the chairs of Women in Nuclear (WiN) of Brazil and Cuba, respectively, delivered presentations on their experience as women working in the nuclear field. Following their long, storied careers in the nuclear domain, both guest speakers were able to describe their professional trajectory, highlighting the challenges and biases they faced.


[1] Project RLA0059: Strengthening Regional Cooperation (ARCAL CLXII)

Stay in touch