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Non-nuclear energy

Human resources, mobility and training

Fission and radiation protection

Of vital support to the nuclear research programme, education and training is an area where integrated European action can add real value to existing national programmes.

Scientific competence and human capacity need to be retained and further developed in the nuclear area, as they are crucial to guarantee the availability of suitably qualified researchers, engineers and technicians in the sector over the longer term.

Furthermore, a high level of expertise and human resources are at the core of all domains of nuclear fission and radiation protection, as they are paramount to maintaining the current high levels of nuclear safety. Indeed, this safety is critically dependent on retaining and recruiting people with the necessary scientific competence and know-how.

For this reason it is necessary to facilitate the training and mobility of students and scientists and to promote coordination among educational systems across the EU in order to assure equivalence of qualifications.

Nuclear education and training schemes will be further harmonised and extended to meet stakeholders’ needs in areas such as reactor systems, radioactive waste management and radiation protection. This will help provide international opportunities for young researchers in the nuclear field.

Since 2000, Euratom has worked to strengthen efforts in nuclear education and training in all sectors. In this context, the education and training (E&T) strategy aims towards:

  • a modular approach and common qualification criteria, to offer a coherent E&T framework with a wide variety of modules
  • a single mutual recognition system across the EU, using the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) of Erasmus
  • the facilitation of mobility for teachers and students, in particular through support from public–private partnerships
  • taking advantage of the feedback from stakeholders by involving future employers in the process.

Mobility will be encouraged through grants and fellowships for scientists and researchers to move between different universities and research institutes in- and outside the EU.

In order to achieve the above objectives, a non-profit association was formed in September 2003, the European Nuclear Education Network, consisting of 28 universities as effective members and 18 associated members, from 19 countries. This network is central to the strategy of the Euratom Framework Programme.

In addition, in the 2008 Euratom FP7 work programme, the European Commission proposed that the Euratom Fission Training Schemes (EFTS) be set up. This action goes beyond training and mobility, with the aim being to structure research training and researchers’ career development across the EU. A typical EFTS may receive up to €1 million from FP7 and last three years. The first EFTS will be launched in the areas of advanced reactor design (generation III and IV), radiation protection and radioactive waste management. More are likely to follow in later years of FP7.

Special measures to encourage early-stage researchers and support early stages of scientific careers will be introduced, in order to address lifelong learning and career development of experienced researchers in the public and private sectors. The objective is to maximise the transfer of higher-level knowledge and technology with emphasis on multi-disciplinary, transnational and inter-sector mobility (e.g. industry–academia partnerships). These actions target workers at postgraduate or equivalent level.

Ongoing research in human resources, mobility and training

© JRC, ITU (Karlsruhe), 2005

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