It is at European - and international - level that the Institute is working to give momentum to its scientific and technical collaborations. The purposes are manifold: upstream, to share the research burden and the use of complex installations, and downstream, to promote the necessary harmonisation of nuclear safety and radiation protection practices. Supporting the development of the European Research Area and directly addressing the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy, the IRSN has been investing since 2004 in networks of excellence, and since 2008 in the emergence of new research platforms.
"Platforms" are structural alliances between parties involved in the same field of research. They are intended to attract European research in their field. They contribute to the design of a so-called strategic agenda, which sets forth the sector's research aims over the next 20 years. And they endeavour to ensure these aims are met.
Since 2008, and the first to do so, IRSN has been adopting an increasingly proactive stance with regard to the organisation of these structures, by helping create MELODI for the research into the effects of low-dose ionising radiation.
The IRSN is currently involved at management level in three major structures:
- MELODI (Multidisciplinary European Low Dose Initiative), a European platform for research into low-dose ionising radiation. Its chairman is the Managing Director of the IRSN. The IRSN is one of the protagonists of its strategic agenda.
- NUGENIA (Nuclear Gen II & III Association), an association dedicated to researching and developing nuclear fission technologies for generation II and III nuclear plants. It brings together SARNET, SNE-TP (in which the IRSN is heavily involved) and NuLIFE. The IRSN steered the production of a document setting forth the stance of the members of the European network ETSON with regards to research needs in the field of generation II and III nuclear plant safety. This "position paper" has lead to nuclear safety issues being afforded greater importance in the research programmes supported by the NUGENIA association.
- The Alliance (European Radioecology Alliance): The IRSN is one of the protagonists of its strategic agenda.
- OPERRA (Open Project for EUropean Radiation Research Area), coordination structure to administer future EU calls for projects in radiation protection.
Networks of excellence
Networks of excellence are intermediary structures that exist between the research projects, as designed in the first generations of the European framework programmes, and the platforms.
Since 2004, the IRSN has steered the creation of one of the first networks of excellence, SARNET, which investigates core melt accidents.
Today, the Institute is involved in numerous other networks of excellence:
- SARNET network (Severe Accident Research Network of Excellence): research into severe nuclear accidents. Coordinated by the IRSN, SARNET brings together 49 European organisations involved in researching nuclear reactor safety (safety institutes, universities, industrial bodies etc.) in 18 European countries.
- DOREMI (Low Dose Research towards Multidisciplinary Integration), a European network of excellence dedicated to studying the effects of low-dose ionising radiation and which brings together 22 technical safety organisations, research centres, universities and Government agencies from Europe and Japan.
- STAR, the Strategy for Allied Radioecology. The IRSN helped found this network of excellence. STAR now represents 9 European partners. The IRSN is also actively involved in a structured network that does not benefit from collaboration with the European Community.
The IRSN is also involved in an dosimetry expert network:
- EURADOS: European Radiation Dosimetry Group. EURADOS works in the fields of radiation protection, radiobiology, diagnostics and radiotherapy. The group arranges networked activities for stimulating collaboration between European laboratories.
Research programmes of the FPR
The IRSN is currently involved with 22 programmes (including 3 networks of excellence; see above) as part of the 7th EC Framework Programme for Research - Euratom.
FP7-Euratom-Fission - Management of radioactive Waste
FP7-Euratom-Fission - Nuclear Installation Safety
FP7-Euratom-Fission - Radiation Protection
Some formers programmes