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The Right Education for a Sustainable Industry: INMA Prepares Professionals in Nuclear Technology Management

A presentation by IAEA experts during of the International Nuclear Management Academy at a 60th IAEA General Conference side event. (Photo: M. FAWAZ-Huber/IAEA)

Three years after its launch in 2013, the IAEA’s International Nuclear Management Academy (INMA) initiative, a collaboration framework for universities, is making headway in its quest to provide future professionals with the proper education and skills necessary to lead the nuclear sector.

In an event on the side-lines of the IAEA’s 60th General Conference, IAEA experts and stakeholders from both academia and industry shared the latest on their work under INMA.

"After many consultations with about 20 interested Member State universities and stakeholders over the past four years, we have developed common requirements for the programme and a flexible cooperation framework," said John de Grosbois, Head of the Nuclear Knowledge Management section at the IAEA.

The IAEA launched the INMA initiative in collaboration with nuclear engineering and science universities, as well as with employers from the nuclear sector, to support universities in implementing high-quality Master’s level programmes in nuclear technology management. The motivation behind this initiative was to address the lack of Master’s level programmes in nuclear technology management, as MBA-type programmes did not address the competency requirements of the nuclear sector and, therefore, left many graduates unable to assume more complex roles in nuclear organizations.

Speaking of the United Kingdom’s experience with INMA, Sarah Heath, Director of the University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute, said that the universities in the UK offered courses that provided technical and project management training at the Master’s level. However, these lacked a specific nuclear focus.

"This led us to launch our programme. We have learned a lot from it, and we are developing it further in closer alignment with industry needs," she said. 

The INMA framework defines competencies in four areas of nuclear management: the external environment, nuclear technology, management and administration and leadership. It also facilitates inter-university cooperation, involvement of industry stakeholders and resource sharing.

"When students are given the right education in the nuclear sector, it becomes easier for them to acquire practical management skills in the field," said Takaaki Mochida, Manager at Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy and a speaker at the event. "The two complement each other: INMA provides an introductory and systematic platform and the industry provides practical and specific management skills."

To participate in INMA, a Member State's university must develop and implement a Master's programme that meets a set of common criteria, requirements and guidelines. An IAEA-facilitated peer review assessment will determine if the requirements are met.

The universities are working hard to make these programmes accessible to working professionals in the form of short format, part-time and distance learning courses, according to de Grosbois. 

"We are already getting strong industry feedback on the need for, and benefits of, these programmes. INMA graduates will have a broad knowledge of management issues in the nuclear sector and will be equipped with the necessary competencies to move into leadership roles," he said.