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Non-nuclear energy


Fission and radiation protection

Open Access to the Belgian Nuclear Higher Education Network: a Belgian Model for European Integration

In 2002, in the context of the unique Belgian federal and cultural structures, five Belgian community universities and the Belgian nuclear research centre established a common education programme in nuclear engineering. The experience accumulated by the BNEN consortium can serve as a guideline for the realisation of a European higher education area. It can also be used to demonstrate to the other EU-25 partner Member States how integration of resources and capabilities can be managed in the European Research Area.

Evaluation and dissemination

(Courtesy of EC/JRC, IE)
(Courtesy of EC/JRC, IE)
After setting up an appropriate evaluation methodology, the BNEN consortium will perform a comprehensive self-assessment that will then be evaluated by invited stakeholders from the different countries of the enlarged European Union. The outcome of the evaluations will stimulate the debate on the European higher education area and contribute actively to the development of a more harmonised approach for education in nuclear sciences and engineering throughout Europe. It will bring the European Higher Education Area closer to realisation and will help safeguard the necessary competence and expertise for the continued safe use of nuclear energy and radiation in industry and medicine in Europe.

Comprehensive internal and external assessment

The consortium will prepare a comprehensive compendium describing the background, the objectives and achievements of the BNEN scheme. A set of evaluation criteria and corresponding evaluation methodologies for a self-assessment and external evaluation of the BNEN scheme and education programme will then be developed, which will be used to assess the scheme, taking account of the importance of quality assessment. In addition, an extensive external assessment of the BNEN scheme by stakeholders from other EU-25 nations will be organised along with a conference to disseminate and share the outcome of both evaluations. The BNEN consortium will compile all the information and results in one final report.

The NEPTUNO project also brings together the important and active players in the field of nuclear education and training in Europe, and the BNEN consortium will form a strong link with the NEPTUNO initiative. The link is secured by the fact that NEPTUNO experts will assess the evaluation methodology defined by the BNEN consortium. They will also play a prominent role in the external evaluation of the BNEN scheme and their opinion on the BNEN Self Assessment Report will be of high value to the BNEN consortium.

Best practice for European education

The BNEN compendium will illustrate the strengths of the BNEN scheme and education programme. It will be widely disseminated in order to inspire other parties to set up high-quality educational programmes that fit into the concept of an integrated European master's programme. Nuclear and non-nuclear experts from EU-25 Member States will be asked to react and comment on the proposed evaluation methodology. Therefore, the evaluation scheme that will be used for the assessment of the BNEN programme could become a commonly accepted assessment instrument for the evaluation of other education and training programmes.

The BNEN consortium will share the results of the selfassessment exercise with the different nuclear stakeholders, as well as the outcome and conclusions of the external evaluation. The input of the stakeholders is important to keep up with their needs and expectations on education. Through the organisation of a dissemination conference, a forum will be created, which is able to launch a discussion where ideas, comments and recommendations can be shared with a view on the further improvement of education in nuclear engineering in particular, and education and training in general, on a pan-European basis.

Better nuclear education to protect society

Through sharing its experience, the BNEN consortium will help to safeguard the necessary competence and expertise in Europe on nuclear safety and radiation protection at the highest level. By striving for a more harmonised approach for education in nuclear engineering and nuclear sciences in Europe, the BNEN project is contributing to the creation of the European Research and Innovation Area.

The involvement of stakeholders from the enlarged European Union will help the BNEN consortium to disseminate Community best practice and experience. Therefore, this project is contributing to the integration of the new Member States into the European Research Area and thus to the successful enlargement of the European Union. By providing an active role for female experts, the BNEN project will work to reinforce the status and role of women in science and research. The BNEN consortium wants to transfer knowledge, create opportunities for networking, encourage the mobility of young scientists, and contribute to lifelong learning by opening European expertise to public and expert scrutiny.

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