Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework
Joint project

“Nanocenter” training in the method of pulsed laser deposition at National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute), Russia. Photo: MEPhI.

The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) launched the Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Framework in partnership with its member countries to help address important gaps in nuclear skills capacity building, knowledge transfer and technical innovation in an international context. . The NEST Framework is developed as a NEA joint undertaking gathering private and public organisations from interested countries (not-necessarily NEA member countries).

It entered into force on the 15 February 2019. The goal of NEST is to

  • energise advanced students to pursue careers in the nuclear field by proposing a multinational framework among interested countries to maintain and build skills capabilities;
  • establishing international links between universities, academia, research institutes and industry;
  • attracting scientists and technologists from other disciplines to examine nuclear technology issues and involving such actors in the resolution of real-world problems.

NEST added-value and benefits

The main added-values and benefits of NEST are:

  • fast track to leadership
  • gain multidisciplinary skills and competences through hands-on training
  • access to state-of-the-art facilities
  • develop a network through multinational co-operation
  • participation in challenging and innovative activities

NEST Management Board

The main decision body of the NEST Framework is the Management Board which comprises one member (and one alternate) from each NEST Country.

The main roles and responsibilities of the NEST Management Board are to:

  • Adopt the NEST Programme of Wok and the NEST Budget
  • Select the NEST Projects
  • Steer the NEST Framework

Prof. Dr. Andreas Pautz from PSI is the current Chair of the Management Board (2019-2020).

NEST Projects and selection criteria

The heart of the NEST Framework are multinational and multidisciplinary projects, the so-called NEST projects.

NEST projects may be developed to meet specific education and skills development needs. In order to meet real-world context and challenging problems of industry/regulatory bodies, and to benefit from experienced practitioners, a NEST project can be defined and implemented as a part of broader existing project that are able to meet agreed NEST criteria, such as national projects open to international co-operation, ongoing NEA joint projects, etc.

The NEST Management Board will select the projects according to the following criteria:

  • includes at least three countries;
  • addresses concrete and multidisciplinary challenges in the field of nuclear science, technology and applications;
  • offers hands-on training opportunities for each NEST fellow.

Additional criteria can be identified by the Management Board.

NEST projects will be selected by the Management Board according to the above criteria and according to their strategic value for the NEST countries.

How NEST works

Each NEST Project will be facilitated by a Leading Organisation which will work with NEST Participating Organisations in countries participating in the NEST Project to carry out related research tasks. The Leading Organisation provides the professional research guidance for the project while the NEST Participating Organisations will conduct research tasks that will be carried out by the NEST Fellows.

NEST fellows

NEST Fellows can be Master’s students, PhDs, postdoctoral researchers, young professionals, etc. belonging to one of the NEST Project’s Participating Organisations.

They will:

  • work alongside leading experts in the field facilitating in this way the transfer and acquisition of knowledge, and broadening their overall competencies and skills.
  • work within a network of organisations alongside other NEST Fellows who do not necessarily have the same technical background. In this way, NEST Fellows will expand their own network and be part of a community of practitioners. Such networks will foster the cross-fertilisations of ideas and the development of new projects to develop new innovative nuclear technologies.
  • spend a time in another organisation within a NEST project to become familiar with and acquire the required knowledge about the project and liaise with senior staff and experts involved in the project.

Each fellow will then go back to their own home institution and develop their own project and continue to work under adequate mentorship. The research activity will be developed in the home organisation in tight connection with other fellows working in the same NEST project along with senior staff from the participating organisation to provide necessary guidance. This will empower the fellows who will eventually possess and develop new skills and competences.

This new setting will help catalysing new dynamics among all actors and creating an eco-system essential to foster a collective learning and development from which new ideas will evolve.


The NEST Framework comprises a number of countries and organisations who wish to cooperate through international exchanges and activities to strengthen nuclear-related technology education and training programmes, build technical and non-technical skills in the field of nuclear scie“Nanocenter” training in the method of pulsed laser deposition at National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute), Russia. Photo: MEPhI.nce, and foster the safe use of nuclear technology and its applications.

Currently, 15 organisations from 10 countries are participating in the NEST Framework and are the initial signatories of the Framework Agreement:

Belgium - Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK CEN)

Canada - Natural Resources Canada (NRCan/RNCan)

France - 


Project period

Entered into 15 February 2019

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