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Supporting the Next Generation: An IAEA Spotlight on Women in Nuclear Sciences and Applications


Susana Fiadey, an MSCFP recipient from Ghana and intern at the Food Safety and Control Laboratory, Food Safety and Control Section, Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture in Seibersdorf, Austria. (Photo: S. Fiadey/IAEA)

The IAEA is supporting women to pursue careers in nuclear through its Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme (MSCFP), which provides highly-motivated female master’s students with scholarships and internship opportunities. There are diverse prospects in the nuclear field, encompassing everything from nuclear energy, nuclear safety and nuclear security to nuclear law and non‑proliferation. Interestingly, nearly half of MSCFP recipients are actively pursuing or have completed their studies in the field of nuclear sciences and applications, covering a diverse domain of subjects such as health, nutrition, agriculture, ocean protection, a testimony to many young scientists’ interest in harnessing the non-power benefits of nuclear technologies.

Furthermore, one third of the 105 fellows placed as interns through the MSCFP’s internship component have gained direct work experience in nuclear sciences and applications either at the IAEA, including in one of its state-of-the-art Laboratories in Seibersdorf or Monaco, or at partner organizations.

The MSCFP — launched in 2020 by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi — offers MSCFP fellows the chance to contribute to cutting-edge research projects during their internships that address development needs around the world.

“The IAEA is a unique and exciting place for MSCFP recipients to intern, where they can support our activities and contribute to our mission of addressing global issues such as climate change and public health,” said Najat Mokhtar, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications. “In gaining valuable work experience and technical skills through hands-on training and mentoring, this next generation of scientists are set to thrive in the scientific world."

Anna Becker, an MSCFP recipient from Germany and intern at the Dosimetry Laboratory, Dosimetry and Medical Radiation Physics Section, IAEA Division of Human Health in Seibersdorf, Austria. (Photo: A. Becker/IAEA)

Since the MSCFP’s inception, 560 women have been awarded the fellowship – 28 of whom have been placed in internships relating to nuclear science and its applications at the IAEA. Currently, 11 interns from around the world are supporting IAEA activities in areas ranging from health, food and agriculture to environment, water, and industry.

Brenda Trust, an MSCFP recipient from Uganda, is an intern at the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. As part of the Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Section, she explores how nuclear technologies can be used to enhance agricultural and water resources.

“My master’s programme, supported by the fellowship, consolidated my knowledge base in the field of nuclear sciences, while my internship exposed me to various methodologies. I was also able to collaborate with esteemed professionals, which has enriched my perspective and stimulated my determination to have a positive impact in this field," remarked Trust.

Mary Joy Erojo, an MSCFP recipient from the Philippines, has been supporting the IAEA’s Dosimetry Laboratory (DOL).

“As a medical physicist, I ensure the safety and effectiveness of the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients. At DOL, I am training on various techniques for the measurement and optimization of radiation doses for radiotherapy, which are crucial for enhancing treatment outcomes and patients’ quality of life,” said Erojo.

The internship has been instrumental in advancing MSCFP fellows’ education in nuclear sciences and preparing them for high-end academic and professional opportunities.

“Throughout my internship, I gained valuable knowledge on the practical aspects of nuclear physics, including safety protocols and the operation of a neutron generator”, said MSCFP recipient Wafa Bennaceur from Algeria, who supports the IAEA’s Nuclear Science and Instrumentation Laboratory. “This experience will open more doors for me to continue working in this field and become a researcher in nuclear.”

The MSCFP provides young women in nuclear with opportunities and support enabling them to unlock their full potential, drive progress and innovation in nuclear sciences, and make significant strides towards a better future for all.  

The Programme also aligns with the IAEA's broader efforts to achieve gender equality in the nuclear field. By increasing the number of women in the nuclear sector, the MSCFP actively fosters the establishment of an inclusive workforce, which is key for global scientific and technological innovation in nuclear sciences.

More information on the Programme can be found in the fellowship’s brochure and more information for applicants is available here. The next application cycle will be announced here.

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