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Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme: First Scholar Graduates as New Round of Applications Opens

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Inna Rodina (left) from Russia is the first graduate of the IAEA's Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme, launched last year. The programme provides scholarship to women pursuing graduate students in nuclear topics, as a means to increase representation of women in these traditionally male-dominated fields. (Photo: IAEA)

During her undergraduate studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Inna Rodina learned about global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons  and international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Determined to follow her dream of making the world a safer and more peaceful place, she delved into it.

So in 2019 she enrolled in a Master’s programme in non‑proliferation and terrorism studies at the US Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, while juggling her time with work to financially support herself. But things changed when a friend told her about a scholarship to support women studying in the nuclear field. She applied for and was among the 100 recipients of the IAEA’s new scholarship under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme (MSCFP), launched last year.

And in June this year, Rodina was the first scholarship recipient to graduate. Her Master’s thesis, Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy: Prospects, Challenges and Legal Models for Russian Cooperation with the Middle East, is based on research she conducted during her studies and the access she had to meet some of the world’s distinguished nuclear specialists.

“Thanks to the scholarship, I had the opportunity to focus on studying instead of thinking about ways to make money to pay for accommodation,” said 23‑year-old Rodina. “I was able to fully concentrate on my studies and research work, achieve great academic results and have several of my research papers published.” The 2020 cohort of 100 scholarship recipients hail from 71 countries and several, historically male dominated disciplines from nuclear engineering and operations, to nuclear medicine and radiation protection.

“Good knowledge in nuclear-related processes provides not only many professional opportunities, but also skills to make a real difference and contribute to a better world for all,” Rodina said. “I believe that today’s situation is different from just a few years ago: women who are passionate about nuclear-related subjects have significantly fewer obstacles to realize their dreams and become nuclear specialists.”

Later this year, Rodina will join the IAEA Department of Safeguards for an internship. She plans to seek opportunities in industry to gain more experience before advancing her career within an international institution to tackle pressing world issues, such as the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and violent extremism.

2021 MSCFP application now open

The application process for 2021 cycle of the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme is now open. Women from all over the world are encouraged to apply until 30 September 2021 for a MSCFP scholarship, awarded to 100 selected candidates per year.

The fellowship programme, launched in March 2020, aims to inspire and encourage women to pursue a career in the nuclear field, by providing scholarships for Master’s programmes and an opportunity to pursue internships related to their field of study, facilitated by the Agency. Member States and non-governmental organizations have supported the programme with financial and in-kind contributions.

For more information on MSCFP and the application process, click here.

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