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Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellows Trained in Nuclear Security


Hands-on demonstration of radiation detection and monitoring equipment at the IAEA Nuclear Security Detection and Monitoring Equipment Laboratory. (Photo: J. Withorne/IAEA)

Women from around the world took part in an International School on Nuclear Security at the IAEA in August. It was the fourth time the school had hosted fellows from the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme (MSCFP) since the launch of the programme in 2020. The MSCFP aims to support the next generation of women leaders in the nuclear field through scholarships, internships, and training and networking opportunities.

“This is a unique programme introducing nuclear security to participants,” said Marina Labyntseva, Head of the Education and Training Development Unit in the IAEA Division of Nuclear Security. “Through a series of lectures, demonstrations and practical exercises, participants learned about the national nuclear security regimes, and what prevention, detection and response to nuclear security threats actually means.”

Within the last three years, a total of 169 MSCFP recipients from various educational backgrounds in the field of nuclear science and technology have participated in the school. This year, 56 fellows from 46 countries attended the school, both in person and virtually.

The school is designed to provide participants with a fundamental knowledge of nuclear security, and was co-funded by the European Union and the United States of America.

“As a nuclear engineering student, I have mainly focused on technical aspects of my studies and work. However, attending the school has taught me about the broader significance of nuclear security. I am now intrigued to learn more on nuclear security,” said Razia Nushrat from Bangladesh.

Throughout the two week programme from 31 July to 10 August, the fellows attended a series of training activities that paired informative lectures with hands-on demonstrations. For example, by using virtual reality tools to explore a 3D model of a nuclear facility, the fellows simulated responses to nuclear security threats. The participants also visited the IAEA Nuclear Security Detection and Monitoring Equipment Laboratory and the Incident and Emergency Centre.

“I have learned that a multidisciplinary and integrated approach is necessary for nuclear security,” said Adriana Jiménez Amorós, MSCFP fellow from Bolivia, adding that “the school helped me clarify multiple concepts used in the nuclear field.”

An integral component of the school was to bridge the gap between education, training and professional networking in the field of nuclear security. To this end, the school’s programme included a high level panel discussion on empowering and inspiring youth to lead in the nuclear sector and a Women in Nuclear Security Initiative panel discussion on the importance of gender equality and diversity in nuclear security.

“As someone who was involved in the engineering side of the nuclear industry, it was very enriching to be able to converse with highly qualified specialists with different expertise," said Manal El Abidi, a participant from Morocco. “The nuclear security school gave me access to relevant opportunities for future training and mentorship.”

Promoting gender equality in the nuclear field

The IAEA is committed to providing early and mid-career women professionals with opportunities to advance their technical and leadership skills through programmes such as the Lise Meitner Programme and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme.

The IAEA’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme provides financial support for women enrolled in master’s programmes in the nuclear field. You can apply for the 2023 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme here until 30 September.

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