Newsletter July 2020
Supporting  young researchers
18 new PhD students will start in October
In collaboration with all Belgian and some international universities, SCK CEN has an extensive PhD programme hosting about 85 PhD students. They study a variety of nuclear topics in several scientific disciplines, engineering or social sciences.
After a thorough selection procedure, which started with 110 candidates, we are pleased to announce that 18 new PhD students will start at SCK CEN in the autumn. We are looking forward to welcoming them in our laboratories soon!
More PhD topics available
The SCK CEN Academy has launched a second selection round for another 8 available topics. More information can be found on our website. The deadline for sending in application files is September 4, 2020.
Consult the available PhD topics
Bachelor and Master students’ theses
During this academic year 2019-2020, about 50 BSc and MSc students were supported by the SCK CEN Academy in the realization of their thesis.
The SCK CEN Academy congratulates all thesis students for their achievements, especially in the difficult circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this article we highlight the work of Ronny Van de Voorde, BSc student at Thomas More in Geel. He undertook his final year thesis in the SCK CEN unit “crisis management and decision support”. His thesis dealt with the development and implementation of an automated system to measure a potential radioactive contamination as a function of the below-ground depth. Ronny was challenged to develop a “simple, robust, flexible and cheap” system using a detector which is positioned in a PVC pipe placed in a pre-drilled hole in the ground for in situ measurements.
We are looking forward to supervising new students in the coming academic year
Eye-catcher courses and events
Postgraduate 'Radiation Protection Expert' course
On September 25, 2020 a new edition of the postgraduate training course for Radiation Protection Experts (RPE) will kick-off, organized jointly by the SCK CEN Academy and the University of Hasselt. Meeting the relevant legal requirements, this course is targeted primarily towards those who need to be recognized formally as RPE. This course is also highly recommended for professionals working in the nuclear industry, healthcare or government agencies who want to update their radiation protection knowledge and skills.
Read more
Conference - ETRAP 2021
The 7th International Conference on Education and Training in Radiological Protection (ETRAP) will take place from March 23 to 26, 2021 in Groningen, the Netherlands.
ETRAP 2021 will bring together training providers, policy makers, radiation protection experts and officers, regulators and authorities, as well as end-users to discuss the latest findings and developments in education and training in radiation protection.
The topics will focus on online learning, train the trainer, E&T policy, stakeholder engagement, attracting the next generation, communication, ethics and radiation protection culture.
This conference is organized by the SCK CEN Academy and the University of Groningen, in cooperation with the EUTERP, IRPA and IAEA.
Call for abstracts
submission deadline December 1, 2020
Online seminar - Safety and security: two sides of the same coin?
On October 15, 2020 the SCK CEN Academy will organize an online seminar on the topic 'Safety and security'.
Safety and security are often thought of as sharing a common goal: protecting people and the environment from potential harm. In this seminar, we provide a stage for safety and security experts to present and discuss their visions on the relation between safety and security. Bringing together academics and representatives of nuclear authorities and industries, attention is directed at how safety and security are conceptualized, how they interrelate, and how they impact organizations’ cultures and functioning.
Webinar - The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident: an update
This webinar is part of a series of training sessions organized in the framework of the continuous professional development in radiation protection. This event will be broadcast on October 9, 2020 from 13:00 h until 15:30 h.
Publications in the spotlight
American Chemical Society Editor’s choice highlight
The publication of SCK CEN scientific collaborator and former PhD student Gregory Leinders entitled “Local Structure in U(IV) and U(V) Environments: The Case of U3O7”, published in Inorganic Chemistry, has been selected as the “American Chemical Society Editor’s choice highlight”. This honor is reserved for new peer-reviewed research articles from any of the ACS journals. The selection of these articles is based on recommendations by the scientific editors of ACS journals from around the world. The selected article received a free golden open-access publication.
View the LiveSlides presentation
Nature – Scientific Reports
The article “Radioisotopes demonstrate changes in global atmospheric circulation possibly caused by global warming” by Lucrezia Terzi et al. on the use of Be-7 to study the effects of climate change was published this week in Scientific Reports. It was also picked up by the newspaper “De Standaard”.
Watch the video abstract
Upcoming courses and events – an overview
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