Cooperation agreement signed between iThemba LABS and the Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology (INSTN)

iThemba LABS signed a collaboration agreement with the French National Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology (INSTN). The mission of the INSTN is “to provide excellence in education and training to ensure a safe, skilled and competent workforce (in Nuclear Science and Technology)”.  The INSTN offers courses in the following categories: Academic training; Knowledge transfer; Continuous Professional Development; and Tailor-made training. Academic training offered by the INSTN include a Radiation Protection (RP) certificate and a RP Technician diploma at the graduate level, plus postgraduate degrees in Medical Physics, Radiopharmacy, and Nuclear Energy.

The INSTN will support iThemba LABS in establishing the South African Institute of Nuclear Technology and Science (SAINTS). iThemba LABS will through SAINTS offer a taught Masters Program in Subatomic Physics and Material Science aimed at improving the quality of the postgraduate training offered by iThemba LABS and the collaborating universities. The collaboration will start with the training of radioisotope department staff in areas of radiochemistry by the INSTN experts. The INSTN will assist iThemba LABS in establishing training programmes in radiochemistry that will cover the following areas: Production of radiopharmaceuticals; Quality control of radiopharmaceuticals; Development of radiopharmaceuticals; and Molecular and Cellular Markings. This will allow the radioisotope department staff to develop the necessary expertise to produce the radiopharmaceuticals that will be used in the proposed targeted alpha therapy program.

The signing ceremony was attended by the director of the INSTN, the deputy head of programmes at INSTN, and representatives from the French embassy. The partner universities were represented by the deputy vice chancellors, deans, heads of departments, and researchers who expressed their support for SAINTS.  Those that did not manage to attend the signing ceremony sent messages of support, which were read to the audience.

SAINTS will be used as a vehicle for human capacity development in South Africa and the African continent as a whole to train the next generation of accelerator physicists, researchers and technicians that will also support the building, maintenance and utilisation of the South African Isotope Facility (SAIF).