The very first IAEA essay competition is now open for students and early career professionals as part of the IAEA's International Conference on Nuclear Security: Commitments and Actions taking place from 5 to 9 December 2016 at IAEA headquarters in Vienna.
Following the successful International Conference on Nuclear Security: Enhancing Global Efforts held in Vienna, Austria, in July 2013, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is organizing a second conference in this area — the International Conference on Nuclear Security: Commitments and Actions — at its Headquarters in Vienna, Austria, from 5 to 9 December 2016. This second international conference on nuclear security will not only provide a timely global forum in which the progress made in strengthening nuclear security worldwide can be reviewed and future developments discussed; its results will also serve as important input for the preparation of the IAEA’s next Nuclear Security Plan, which will cover the period 2018–2021.
The IAEA encourages students and young professionals from developing countries, especially women, to submit original and innovative essays on the future of nuclear security.
Terms and Conditions
The competition is only open to nationals of IAEA Member States.
Applicants must be 35 years of age and under (born after 1st January 1981). Those who are considered for the prizes will be requested to send their identification documents (E.g. copy of passport) to facilitate administrative arrangements and travel to Austria.
The essays need to be less than 2,500 words and can be submitted in any of the official IAEA languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish).
Entries in any official language of the IAEA (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) will be accepted. However, applicants should note that for an impartial and fair judging process, essays will be translated into English and be subject to a blind evaluation at the final selection stage. Therefore applicants who wish to ensure the quality of the translation may choose to submit their essays in English.
Only one essay, which must be the applicant’s original work, is allowed per entrant. Once an essay has been submitted, applicant will not have the opportunity to revise it. Please carefully check before submitting the final copy, and also ensure that all supplementary information is filled in correctly.
All essays must be an original work by the applicant in their own words, except for quotations from published and unpublished sources which are clearly indicated and acknowledged as such. Citations must follow internationally recognized styles (Chicago, MLA, ACS, IEEE, NLM, Vancouver, AAA, APA, APSA, etc.), and applicants can at any time be requested to provide clarification of the source. Any content that can be identified as plagiarism will immediately be disqualified.
The overall themes that are expected to be discussed at the International Conference are as follows:
International legal instruments for nuclear security: universalization and implementation of binding international legal instruments;
- International bodies and initiatives for nuclear security: role of the IAEA in coordinating international efforts;
- Nuclear material and nuclear facilities: national approaches, emerging trends and areas to be addressed;
- Radioactive material and associated facilities: national approaches, emerging trends and areas to be addressed; Nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control: existing approaches, emerging trends and areas to be addressed; and
- National nuclear security regimes: existing approaches, emerging trends and areas to be addressed.
The submission email should:
• Be sent to NUSECessay2016@iaea.org
• Contain “Essay Competition 2016”_”applicant’s family name” in the subject line - E.g. Essay Competition 2016_Smith
• Have the essay as an attachment in MS Word format
• Contain the following information in the content:
1. Applicant’s family name according to passport:
2. Applicant’s first name according to passport:
3. Title (Mr/Ms):
5. If a student, enrolled programme (bachelors, Masters, P.h.D)
6. Country of passport:
Only entries submitted before Monday 5 September, 2016 at 11:59pm, Vienna Time (CET) will be considered for the competition.
The 2016 conference will have two main parts:
• A ministerial segment which will provide an opportunity for ministers to deliver messages on achievements, commitments and actions, and adopt a Ministerial Declaration; and
• A scientific and technical programme comprising high level policy discussions on six broad themes central to nuclear security and parallel technical sessions on specialized scientific technical, legal and regulatory issues concerning nuclear security.
The IAEA has provided assistance to States, upon request, and supported national efforts to establish and improve nuclear security since the early 1970s, when it began providing ad hoc training in physical protection. Following the tragic events of September 2001 in the United States of America, the IAEA’s first comprehensive action plan to protect against nuclear terrorism was approved in March 2002 by its Board of Governors, and three further Nuclear Security Plans were approved in 2005, 2009 and 2013, respectively.
The objective of the current IAEA Nuclear Security Plan, which covers the period 2014–2017, is:
“To contribute to global efforts to achieve effective security wherever nuclear and other radioactive material is in use, storage and/or transport, and of associated facilities by supporting States, upon request, in their efforts to meet their national responsibilities and international obligations, to reduce risks and to respond appropriately to threats. In achieving this objective, the Agency will:
• Assist States, upon request, in their efforts to establish effective and sustainable national nuclear security regimes;
• Serve as the focal point for strengthening international cooperation, and for coordination of nuclear security assistance given through regional and bilateral programmes and other international initiatives;
• Enhance global nuclear security efforts by completing international guidance in the Nuclear Security Series and, upon request, supporting its implementation by States;
• Encourage and assist States to adhere to relevant international instruments and support States, upon request, in their efforts to adopt implementing national legislation;
• Build on the progress made during the implementation of the first three Nuclear Security Plans to help States sustain and further improve their national nuclear security regimes.”
At the 59th regular session of the IAEA General Conference in September 2015, Member States reaffirmed the central role of the IAEA in strengthening the nuclear security framework globally and in coordinating international activities in the field of nuclear security, while avoiding duplication and overlap.
This second international conference on nuclear security will not only provide a timely global forum in which the progress made in strengthening nuclear security worldwide can be reviewed and future developments discussed; its results will also serve as important input for the preparation of the IAEA’s next Nuclear Security Plan, which will cover the period 2018–2021.
Purpose and Objectives
The conference is being convened to discuss the national and international community’s experiences and achievements to date in strengthening nuclear security; to enhance understanding of current approaches to nuclear security worldwide; to identify trends; and to provide an inclusive forum at which ministers, policymakers, senior officials and nuclear security experts can formulate and exchange views on future directions and priorities for nuclear security and how these may evolve.
The conference will be the ideal forum to:
• Raise awareness of nuclear security;
• Review the current status of nuclear security efforts and existing approaches, emerging trends and areas that may still need to be addressed;
• Consider the medium and long term objectives and priorities for nuclear security and how current approaches may evolve to address these and to meet future challenges;
• Promote universalization of the key international legal instruments for nuclear security;
• Promote international nuclear security guidance and its use by States;
• Review technological developments in nuclear security;
• Promote sharing of information and good practices in nuclear security, with due regard to the protection of sensitive information;
• Promote stronger nuclear security culture;
• Support capacity building to help sustain national nuclear security regimes;
• Encourage diverse participation in such conferences, including increased representation of women, early career professionals and individuals from developing countries; and
• Reaffirm and support the central role of the IAEA in strengthening the nuclear security framework globally and leading the coordination of international activities in the field of nuclear security, whilst avoiding duplication and overlap.
List of Topics
Consistent with the objectives set out above, the overall themes for the conference will be the future of nuclear security worldwide having regard to:
• International legal instruments for nuclear security: universalization and implementation of binding international legal instruments;
• International bodies and initiatives for nuclear security: role of the IAEA in coordinating international efforts;
• Nuclear material and nuclear facilities: national approaches, emerging trends and areas to be addressed;
• Radioactive material and associated facilities: national approaches, emerging trends and areas to be addressed;
• Nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control: existing approaches, emerging trends and areas to be addressed; and
• National nuclear security regimes: existing approaches, emerging trends and areas to be addressed.
These themes will be discussed during the high level policy sessions of the conference.
While the final determination of the number and scope of the technical sessions will be based on the nature and number of abstracts received, it is anticipated that the technical sessions may deal with subjects as diverse as the following:
• National legislative and regulatory framework for nuclear security;
• Regulatory oversight for nuclear security;
• Threat and risk assessment;
• Insider threats;
• Physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities;
• Security of radioactive material and associated facilities;
• Security of nuclear and other radioactive material in transport;
• Nuclear security culture;
• Information security and computer security;
• Detection systems and measures for nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control;
• Nuclear forensics;
• Response to nuclear security events;
• Enhancing skills and knowledge of nuclear security personnel;
• Human and organizational factors in nuclear security;
• Strengthening nuclear security networks;
• Enhancing international and regional cooperation and assistance for nuclear security;
• IAEA coordinated research projects — research and development in nuclear security;
• Technological developments in nuclear security with the objective of risk reduction;
• Public messaging, communication about nuclear security, including considerations for the protection of sensitive information;
• Nuclear security exercises;
• Peer reviews and advisory services;
• Security aspects of decommissioning and end-of-life issues associated with nuclear installations; and
• Security challenges arising from the development of new technologies (e.g. small modular reactors, unmanned aerial vehicles).
The conference is aimed at ministers, senior government officials, high level staff from all of the agencies involved in making policy for, and managing, nuclear security, and at technical and legal experts working in all areas of nuclear security.
The conference is intended to attract industry and civil society representatives, including non governmental organizations and academic institutions. The IAEA welcomes and encourages the participation of women, early career professionals and individuals from developing countries.
The conference programme includes a ministerial segment that will be held on the first day of the conference and will conclude with the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration. The scientific and technical programme will commence on the second day of the conference and will comprise an opening plenary session, six high level discussions, two or three streams of parallel technical sessions, and a concluding plenary session with a report from the President of the conference.
Each high level discussion will be comprised of invited papers and a concluding panel discussion. Each technical session will include presentations by invited speakers on topical areas identified through the submission of abstracts. A panel discussion will also conclude each technical session.
The conference programme will also include poster sessions, and sufficient time will be provided throughout the conference for discussion and interaction with colleagues.
3 winners will be presented with cash prizes of €2000 and a certificate signed by the Director General of the IAEA. In addition, all 3 winners will receive flight tickets, accommodation and daily living expenses to attend and present their papers at the International Conference in Vienna, Austria (5-9 December 2016). The essays will be posted on the IAEA Conference Website with a link on the IAEA Conference App for the duration of the Conference. Please note that in accordance with the IAEA’s policy, the IAEA encourages women and nationals from developing countries to participate in the essay competition. We welcome those involved in the multiple disciplines supporting Nuclear Security including, but not limited to: practitioners of science, engineering, law, political science, international relations and other legal, policy and technical disciplines associated with nuclear security. We welcome early career professionals engaged in policy, strategy, regulation and operations from within government and other competent authorities including regulatory bodies, intelligence agencies, security agencies, response personnel, law enforcement agencies, as well as industry and the non-government sector.
Timelines and Selection Process
- Submission Deadline: Monday 5 September 2016, 2016 at 11:59pm, Vienna Time (CET)
- The Selection Committee will be comprised of the Director of the Division of Nuclear Security and Technical Officers from the Division of Nuclear Security.
o Submitted abstracts will be evaluated anonymously and without regard to nationality, gender, or occupation of the applicant.
o Judging period: 1 month
- Announcement of winners and prizes: Friday 7 October, 2016
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