The IAEA is setting up Collaborating Centres with distinguished institutions around the world for research, development and training in peaceful uses of nuclear technology. China´s Institute of Nuclear Agricultural Sciences at Zhejiang University became the first such centre in November, and more institutions worldwide are expected to be designated next year.
IAEA Deputy Director General Werner Burkart, head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, welcomed Zhejiang University´s participation as a significant event in the new scheme, and thanked the University staff and the Chinese government for their cooperation. Collaboration with the IAEA and the Agency´s Joint Division with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will be on topics associated with plant breeding and genetics.
The IAEA´s Collaboration Centre programme is being started on a trial basis, and draws on the experience of the World Health Organization and FAO, which have established global networks of cooperative centres. The IAEA´s programme is designed to publicly recognize the work designated institutions are doing in support of the Agency´s mission for research, development and training in peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology; it does not, however, confer any special status with the IAEA.
INAS at Zhejiang University has been closely collaborating with the IAEA since the late 1980s in fields of food and agriculture. It has been the counterpart of eight national and regional IAEA Technical Cooperation projects and several coordinated research projects. Many of its staff members have benefited from IAEA training courses and fellowship programmes.
More information about the IAEA programme may be obtained from the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications (see Story Resources).