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New IAEA Collaborating Centres to Boost Nuclear Research in Member States


Testing of the IAEA Code of Practice on Small Field Dosimetry at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Saudi Arabia. (Photo: IAEA)

The number of research institutions assisting the IAEA in research, development and training has grown to twenty-five this year, the highest number in decades. This is the result of the designation of five new institutions and the re-designation of another seven partner institutions as IAEA Collaborating Centres over the last ten months.

Joint research with the Collaborating Centres helps the IAEA assist countries in reaching important development targets under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said Nathalie Colinet, who is in charge of the scheme at the IAEA. “These centres act as the IAEA’s multipliers on the ground, around the world.”

Each Collaborating Centre has unique facilities and skills in a distinct nuclear technology related area, including food irradiation, environmental radioactivity measurement, the study of the health effects of radiation, non-destructive diagnostics and water resource management, among others. While historically the Collaborating Centres engaged in areas related to nuclear applications, last July, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ Centre for Energy Research (MTAEK) was designated as the first IAEA Collaborating Centre in nuclear security. It works with the IAEA and other Member States in nuclear forensics.

Recognition by the IAEA enhances the scientific standing of the institutions, said Andrzej Chmielewski, Director General of the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology (INCT) in Poland. “It helps the Institute in the annual evaluation conducted by the Committee for Evaluation of Scientific Units and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.  We currently rank as A+, a category only 2 out of 52 institutes fall into.” The institute focuses on radiation processing and industrial dosimetry.

Director Andrzej Chmielewski receiving Collaborating Centre recognition for INCT from Aldo Malavasi, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications. (Photo: IAEA)

Sharing resources, knowledge and expertise

The Collaborating Centres scheme is an efficient cooperative mechanism that encourages Collaborating Centres to share resources, knowledge and expertise in conducting applied research and validating methods, in preparing reference materials and providing training to experts from Member States, Colinet said. For example, the INCT helps the IAEA to enhance the applications of radiation processing for healthcare, environmental and industrial applications. Its activities help the IAEA implement its Radioisotope Production and Radiation Technology Programme.

Based on its track record of collaboration with the IAEA, INCT was re-designated as a Collaborating Centre last May. “Since becoming a Collaborating Centre in 2010, the INCT has been an exceptional partner in radiation processing and radiation dosimetry […],” said Aldo Malavasi, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications. “Over the years, the Centre has emerged as a major supporter of numerous IAEA activities such as hosting regional training courses, fellowships and scientific visits and providing consultants and experts for IAEA missions.”

During the 60th General Conference of the IAEA in September 2016, four newly designated or re-designated Collaborating Centres received recognition plaques from Malavasi. The following twelve research institutions received designation or redesignation so far this year:

  1. Aerial (France)
  2. Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)
  3. Centro Nacional de Aceleradores (CAN) (Spain)
  4. Centre International de Recherche et Développement sur l’Elevage en Zone Subhumide (CIRDES) (Burkina Faso)
  5. Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Energy Research (MTA EK)
  6. Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology (INCT) (Poland)
  7. King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre (KFSH&RC)(Saudi Arabia)
  8. Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS)
  9. National Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology (INSTN) (France)
  10. Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI)
  11. Programa Moscas de la Fruta (PMF) (Mexico)
  12. Reactor Institute Delft (RID) (Netherlands)

See the full list of IAEA Collaborating Centres here.

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