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Definition of Collaborating Centres

The IAEA’s reference guide on the Agency’s Collaborating Centres Scheme defines a collaborating centre as follows:

"An IAEA Collaborating Centre is an IAEA Member State institution, department or laboratory within an institution, designated by the relevant IAEA Deputy Director General (DDG), that on the basis of the IAEA Collaborating Centre Agreement designating such institution, department or laboratory within an institution as an IAEA Collaborating Centre, supports the IAEA’s programmatic activities through the implementation of a Work Plan that is agreed with the relevant IAEA Division(s), and included as an annex to the IAEA Collaborating Centre Agreement.

The IAEA Collaborating Centre Agreement is a legally binding document signed by both parties, which contains, inter alia, the undertakings of the parties, duration of designation, objectives, activities, and expected results and outcomes stated in the Work Plan."

Designation process

  • Formal written expression of interest sent by a Member State institution
  • Upon positive assessment, Collaborating Centre Proposal including Work Plan prepared 
  • If Proposal approved by the IAEA, endorsement of the designation by the Permanent Mission of the Member State
  • Upon endorsement by the Permanent Mission, an IAEA Collaborating Centre Agreement sent to Member State institution
  • Upon signature by both parties, an IAEA Collaborating Centre plaque is provided


The guide also defines the Centre’s functions:

"An IAEA Collaborating Centre shall assist the IAEA in implementing selected programmatic activities in at least one of the following aspects:

  • development and application of technology related to any of the IAEA’s Programmes;
  • provision of analytical services, such as reference products;
  • conduct of research, including the planning, monitoring and evaluation of the conducted research, and promotion of the application of the results of such research;
  • standardization of terminology, nomenclature of technology, procedures and protocols, and promotion of relevant quality control and quality assurance standards;
  • support, organization and/or implementation of conferences and training activities, including research training courses, or the development of training or other educational materials, such as web-based tools, e-learning modules, etc.;
  • collection, collation and dissemination of information; and/or
  • coordination of activities carried out by several institutions where the IAEA is involved under one of its Programmes (e.g. through networks).

Through the Collaborating Centres, Member States can assist the IAEA with their own original research, development and training in nuclear technologies. As a cooperative mechanism, the Collaborating Centre scheme is an efficient cooperative mechanism that encourages centres to share resources, knowledge and expertise."


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