The WNU Summer Institute -Training the nuclear industry’s best8 January 2014
The World Nuclear University’s Summer Institute has been chosen as the training course of the year (duration <1 year) by an expert panel of judges in the NEI Nuclear Training Awards 2013
The WNU-SI is an intensive six-week nuclear leadership development programme offering lectures, tutorials and team projects led by some of the world's foremost experts in the field, plus technical tours to nuclear facilities and networking activities.
"The WNU Summer Institute is a very effective and industry relevant initiative with high level teaching quality, including some innovative ideas such as an alumni network," said judge Ulrik von Estorff, operating agent, European Human Resources Observatory for the Nuclear Energy Sector, EC JRC, Institute for Energy
The WNU-SI is a unique programme set up through collaboration between industry, academia and intergovernmental bodies to address the identified need for nuclear leadership development. The selection criteria are very strict to ensure only those of the right calibre -- demonstrating leadership potential and able to cope with the rigours of the programme -- are admitted.
To help make the transition from specialist to a manager with strategic responsibility, the SI provides insights into the multitude of topics that are relevant to the nuclear industry. These range from radiation biology to nuclear law. To help develop students' management/leadership skills, working group activities carried out in the afternoons under the guidance of experienced mentors provide an opportunity to practise planning, communication, organisation, delegation and cultural literacy.
A wide spectrum of participants
An alumnus who participated in 2009 said: "The opportunity to learn from and with such a diverse, intelligent and engaging group of fellows, mentors, faculty and industry Leaders in historic Christ Church College was truly an incredible experience and a highlight of my career so far."
Participants come from the full spectrum of the nuclear industry and an average of 30 different nations. Thanks to IAEA Technical Cooperation support, developing nations are well-represented each year. (Ten fellows will be selected from over 110 applicants seeking funding for the 2014 Summer Institute)
During the course, fellows must present case studies in front of their peers and industry experts, and give a final presentation on a specified topic that has been researched and framed within collaborative groups, mentored by senior nuclear experts.
Building competence is fostered not only by providing state-of-the-art nuclear knowledge, but also by developing skills such as leadership, communication, planning and organization. A week-long technical tour is also provided.
The length of the programme is one of its peculiarities. Being away from home in a completely new environment allows fellows to fully concentrate on the new topics and experience. To date, over 700 promising professionals have participated in the WNU-SI since the first session in Idaho Falls, Idaho in 2005 (since 2009 it has been held at the University of Oxford). Analysis shows that a high proportion subsequently moves into leadership positions, and that they are inspired to commit their careers to the nuclear field.
The SI also has active alumni networks. SI alumni meetings are held every two years, with the next being held at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in spring 2014.
Other Shortlisted Courses
- Extensive Damage Mitigation Guidelines (TECNATOM)
- Introduction to Power Plan Operations (Exelon)
- Nuclear Technology Education Consortium (NTEC) Diploma
- Risk Hunter (Alstom)
Exelon's Introduction to Power Plant Operations was given a special award by the judges