1. Adverse Outcome Pathways: What Questions Need Answering in the Radiation Research Field?
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Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) are a conceptual framework developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to describe a sequence of causally linked events that occur in response to a biological perturbation and lead to an adverse health outcome relevant to risk assessment, regulatory decision making and/or environmental management.
While the AOP framework is widely used in chemical toxicity testing, there is a growing interest in applying the framework for organising, synthesising, and presenting scientific knowledge of ionising radiation. In this context, the NEA’s High-Level Group on Low-Dose Research (HLG-LDR) with its RAD/CHEM AOP joint topical group, is undertaking an international effort to evolve the development and use of the AOP framework in radiation research and regulation.
As part of these efforts, the group is conducting a survey to gather insights on the challenges related to low-dose radiation research, risk assessment and regulatory decision making with the ultimate goal to explore how the AOP framework could address such challenges. The survey results will inform the ongoing work of the HLG-LDR to advance radiological research using the AOP framework and facilitate collaboration between the chemical and radiation research communities.
The survey is available for individuals, institutions or professional societies between now and 17 September 2021. It can be completed anonymously and all survey responses will be held in strict confidence.
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2. Women in the Nuclear Energy Sector
Despite substantial progress in recent years, women are significantly under‑represented in technical and leadership positions in the nuclear sector. This lack of gender diversity affects the ability of the nuclear science and technology sector to communicate effectively with the broader society and reduces the talent pool needed for future innovation. As a result, this issue may have substantial impacts on the future use of nuclear technologies for energy, medical, industrial and other vital applications. Therefore, attracting and retaining more women into careers in nuclear science and engineering is an important goal pursued by many NEA member countries.
The NEA is working to develop policies for substantive action in order to support its members to achieve this important goal. To this end, the Agency established a task group, which found that data on the role women play in nuclear organisations of all types across member states is lacking. In particular, qualitative data about women in the nuclear sector is needed in order to target specific problems and develop policy solutions.
In this context, the NEA and its member countries have developed a qualitative survey about women’s experiences in the nuclear energy sector. This survey will provide the first international snapshot of women’s perceptions of gender balance in the nuclear workplace, their aspirations and professional development, barriers and challenges that need to be addressed, and opinions about possible solutions. Women across the world—in NEA member countries and beyond—are invited to participate and share their views. Anonymity will be carefully protected to allow participants to provide the freest possible input.
The results of this survey will enable the Agency to develop practical policy advice to member countries, and will provide crucial data for the international community to formulate actions to improving the gender balance in the nuclear sector.
The survey is available until 31 August 2021 in English, French, Japanese, Korean, Romanian, Russian and Spanish. All survey responses will be held in strict confidence with only aggregated results to be published.