IAEA holds knowledge management course in Latin America

14 January 2019

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently held its School of Nuclear Knowledge Management course in the Central American and Caribbean region for the first time. The event was held in Costa Rica on 3-7 December.

The IAEA's pioneering School of Nuclear Knowledge Management for the Central American and Caribbean region (Image: National University of Costa Rica)

The school attracted 22 participants from eight countries in the region, and experts from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica and Spain contributed as lecturers. The IAEA noted, "Half the participants and over 60% of the experts were women, reflecting a drive towards addressing gender balance in the region's nuclear sector."

The school provided the participants with the basic notions of nuclear knowledge management, strategies and tools to determine the risk of loss of critical knowledge, and methodologies for its capture and retention. The influence of organisational culture on a knowledge management programme, as well as the importance of intellectual property and its relationship with knowledge management, were also highlighted.

The IAEA said the course was delivered "in a blend approach, combining an online pre-training and a classroom phase, which enabled the participants to apply the acquired theory and insights and to promote active engagement with peers and experts."

Carried out under a regional IAEA technical cooperation project, the school was supported by the Latin American Network of Education in Nuclear Technology, and hosted by the Physics Department of the National University of Costa Rica and the Atomic Energy Commission of Costa Rica.

"The creation of knowledge will be increasingly faster; and consequently, knowledge will also be lost at a faster pace," said Lydia Paredes Gutierrez from Mexico's National Institute for Nuclear Research and president of the IAEA-sponsored Regional Cooperation Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean. "So, recovering the tacit knowledge possessed by the generations that we have trained, and transferring it to the new generations becomes more and more important."

David Drury, head of the IAEA's Nuclear Knowledge Management Section, said: "This type of training is very important for Latin America. Despite differences in the levels of development of nuclear technology and applications, most countries in the region face similar organisational challenges. There is a high risk of loss of knowledge due to retiring specialised personnel, generational gaps, so the culture of knowledge sharing must be supported."

The IAEA's School for Nuclear Knowledge Management offers a certificate course that provides participants with specialised education and training on the development and implementation of nuclear knowledge management programmes in nuclear science and technology organisations.

"Nuclear knowledge management is a key factor in ensuring the safe operation of existing nuclear facilities, and the effective application of current knowledge in the development of innovative approaches for the nuclear industry," the IAEA says. "The School of Nuclear Knowledge Management targets young professionals from the nuclear field that have, or may have in the future, a lead role in managing nuclear knowledge. It offers a high-quality, intensive education and training on the implementation of nuclear knowledge management. Teaching staff include some of the most renowned specialists in the field."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News