03 APRIL 2014

Sharing the Science – National Liaison Officers Visit NA Laboratories in Seibersdorf

National Liaison Officers Visit NA Laboratories in SeibersdorfOn 13 March, the Nuclear Sciences and Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf hosted a group of recently-appointed National Liaison Officers and Assistants (NLOs and NLAs) from the Latin America and the Caribbean Region, to display first-hand the important role of the laboratories in delivering services to Member States and supporting capacity building through the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme. This visit was among the first times that an NLO/NLA training course incorporated a visit to the laboratories into its itinerary.

Over the past several years, newly-appointed NLOs and NLAs have been travelling to Vienna to undergo training on standard Technical Cooperation (TC) procedures and learn more about the functions of differing IAEA departments and activities. On matters of technical cooperation, NLOs, as Member States' focal point for technical cooperation matters, provide the principal interface between the IAEA and its national counterparts, whose principal responsibility is the on-site implementation of TC projects. Because NLOs play such a pivotal role within the framework of the technical cooperation programme, it is important to ensure that they are adequately equipped with the knowledge of IAEA’s activities needed to effectively perform their duties.

The Regional Training course for Recently appointed National Liaison Officer and National Liaison Assistants on the Procedures and the Organization of the Technical Cooperation Programme, organized by the Division for Latin America of the Department of Technical Cooperation and held from 10-14 March 2014, included the laboratory tour in the training programme as a means for new NLOs and NLAs to not only learn through lectures and practical exercises, but to also see and better understand the science behind their work.

“For me personally the lab tour was indeed a major eye opener”, said Mr Steve John, the newly appointed NLO from Dominica, one of the IAEA’s most recent Member States, “it provided me with a better understanding of the work undertaken by the IAEA and, as the NLO, it helped in identifying a number of areas where Dominica stands to benefit.”

The introduction to the laboratories helped to demonstrate some of the services the IAEA can provide and the NLOs taking part were quick to see potential benefit that the technologies developed in the laboratories could provide to their Member States.

When asked what influence the visit to the laboratories would have on his work as an NLO, Mr John said, “We have already started discussions with key stakeholders, informing on the IAEA, its activities, benefits and the development of a national strategy and national programme for maximising the benefits.”