Female students awarded IAEA scholarships under Sklodowska-Curie program

January 17, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News
Xiaoluo Wang (right), a fellow under the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Program, graduated last year with a master’s degree in nuclear engineering and is getting work experience at the IAEA's Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology. (Photo: A. Tarhi/IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has selected more than 110 female students from around the world to receive scholarships under its Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Program.

Launched in 2020 by the IAEA's director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, the program offers young women an opportunity to pursue studies toward a master’s in the nuclear field by providing financial support and practical experience. Its aim is to help close the gender gap in the traditionally male-dominated nuclear sector, where women make up less than a quarter of the workforce globally, according to data from the World Nuclear Association.

More stats: The students in this year's program come from 77 countries—six more than in 2021. Almost three quarters come from developing countries. The majority of the new students—51 per cent—have decided to study in Europe. At the same time, 10 per cent have decided to pursue their studies in Africa (twice as many as last year) and 18 per cent in Asia.

The fields of study pursued by this year’s students span many nuclear disciplines, including nuclear energy, nuclear science and applications, nuclear safety, security, non-proliferation, and nuclear law.

Funding uses: The scholarships provide tuition and living costs for master’s programs and arrange for up to a year of internship for the graduates to gain practical experience. Fellows will be placed as interns at the IAEA or with partner organizations or industry players, in line with their areas of study and interest.

“As a graduate in nuclear engineering, this internship is allowing me to start a career as a young professional in the nuclear field,” said Xiaoluo Wang, a 2020 fellow from China, who is currently an intern at the IAEA. “Through the internship component, I am gaining hands-on experience in the fields I am passionate about, such as decommissioning and innovative technologies, and I am expanding my professional network.”

The supporters: The following 25 countries, entities, and companies have contributed a total of €7.8 million (about US$8.9 million) to the fellowship so far: Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the European Union, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, East China University of Science and Technology, the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory, German multinational Siemens, and URENCO.

Keep an eye out: The next application period is expected to open this summer.

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