MEPhI international students speak about obtaining an IAEA scholarship

On 11 February, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science is  celebrated. It was established in order to draw attention to the problems of gender balance in this area.  According to UNESCO, the share of women in world science is about 30%. In the nuclear industry, the share is only 22%, according to the IAEA. Agency experts note that the number of women in senior technical positions is growing, but this is still not enough to achieve gender balance.

The IAEA is trying to balance the gender composition both at the agency (now about a third of the agency's employees are women) and in the global nuclear industry.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said: “Women often do not have equal access to education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This reduces their chances of finding work in these areas. The Maria Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Program provides an opportunity to support gender parity in nuclear science and technology. ”

The IAEA selects 100 students and within two years transfers them up to 10 thousand euros per year to pay for master's programs and the same amount of money for living. After graduating from university, fellows can take an internship at the IAEA for up to 12 months. The program has started in 2020: this year the agency selected the first 100 of more than 550 applications from 90 countries. Among them were students of MEPhI.


Davaasuren Byambatsogt, Mongolia

— I am the only one in my family to get a higher education, and even in such a difficult field. I always wanted to study engineering, but at first, I planned to enter the Faculty of Electricity. Then I came across several articles on nuclear engineering and the prospects for the nuclear industry. Mongolia has large reserves of uranium, but it is not used: there is no nuclear power plant or a research reactor.

So many people do not even know about this profession  — nuclear engineer. I am sure that someday a nuclear power plant will be built in Mongolia and my knowledge will be useful. In our country, few women are engaged in science, especially in the fields related to the atom. Physics and mathematics are difficult disciplines, but if you are interested in them, nothing is impossible.


Ifeoma Uvom, Nigeria:

— I work for the Atomic Energy Commission of Nigeria. We do not have a nuclear power plant, but we have a research reactor, and soon Nigeria will build another one.

I received a degree in chemistry and did not know much about nuclear power. I realized that I needed to improve my knowledge in this area, and decided to enter MEPhI.  There was no doubt about the choice, because when you think about nuclear energy, the first thing that comes to mind is Russia. After my studies, I would like to do an internship in other country, and the IAEA scholarship will help me a lot.

Programs for women are a great opportunity to inspire them to study of science. There should be much more of us in this area because women are just as good as men: we are smart, self-motivated and purposeful. The main thing is persistence. You need to move towards your goal, no matter what, if science is what you really want to do. Perhaps it is worth attracting girls to scientific studies from the very school. Nigeria has a Catch them young program. Experts visits schools and tell children about different professions.

I would like to pursue this initiative to inspire girls by science and they should know where to ask for help and advice.


Based on materials from  Strana Rosatom