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Scholastic Support: IAEA Works with Academic and National Nuclear Institutions to Foster Closer Collaboration around Nuclear Science and Technology

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Dazhu Yang, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, formally opens the meeting in delivering opening remarks. (Photo: O. Yusuf/IAEA)

From industrial radiographers to nuclear medicine practitioners, millions of professionals around the world regularly deploy radioactive sources and isotopes as a function of their work. Ensuring that a country’s nuclear workforce is well-supplied with capable, qualified specialists is one of the industry’s most significant challenges.

In this regard, the States Parties of ARCAL—the Regional Cooperation Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean—are taking steps to consolidate the progress made in the region so far, and launched a technical cooperation (TC) project[1] to promote the sustainability of national nuclear institutions. Under the umbrella of this ongoing project, 34 representatives of universities and research institutions in the Latin America and Caribbean region met at the IAEA’s Vienna headquarters from 26 to 30 November, to explore how best to support the future application of nuclear technologies in the region.

Opening the meeting, Dazhu Yang, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, clarified the purpose of the gathering. “The challenges of global transformation cannot be tackled by one actor alone,” he said. “This journey calls for the widest possible international cooperation.” As Mr Yang’s comment indicates, the ongoing project seeks to connect universities in the region with their respective national nuclear institutions in order to identify possible synergies through which to support and sustain the work of nuclear-related professionals.

To facilitate the identification of synergies and areas for collaboration, the meeting participants explored the peaceful application of nuclear science by Member States, as supported by the IAEA. By visiting the Agency’s Seibersdorf Laboratories and by speaking with Programme Management Officers (PMOs) of the TC programme, the university deans and professors in attendance developed their understanding of the development solutions offered by nuclear science. They are also now well-positioned to propose new national education plans and curricula which take into consideration the contribution of nuclear technologies to socio-economic development.

The visiting academics and national counterparts also developed a comprehensive list of recommendations and follow-up actions in the areas of partnership-engagement, resource mobilization, and external communication. Their proposals underscored the need to promote nuclear science and technology at the undergraduate level, by integrating nuclear subjects into engineering and science degrees, and at the post-graduate level, by developing doctorate courses in collaboration with national nuclear institutes.

Representatives of universities and national institutions from 16 Member States attended the meeting: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Having clarified the role played by the IAEA in the peaceful application of nuclear techniques, the Agency looks forward to leveraging the power of nuclear science in closer partnership with academic and national counterparts in the region. 

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[1] RLA0062, ‘Promoting the Sustainability and Networking of National Nuclear Energy Institutions’.

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