IAEA International Essay Competition on Nuclear Security

Deadline: 6 September 2019
Open to: students and professionals below the age of 35
Benefits: three finalists will receive cash prizes of EUR 2000 and a certificate signed by the IAEA Director General


Students and professionals below the age of 35 can now submit entries to the IAEA’s 2020 International Essay Competition on Nuclear Security for Students and Early Career Professionals in cooperation with the International Nuclear Security Education Network (INSEN). The contest is part of the IAEA’s International Conference on Nuclear Security: Sustaining and Strengthening Efforts, taking place from 10 to 14 February 2020 at IAEA headquarters in Vienna.

“Through this competition, the IAEA hopes to learn about innovative ideas and perspectives on the future of nuclear security,” said Senior Nuclear Security Officer Darren Chen, the scientific secretary for the 2020 conference. “The conference themes may serve as an inspiration for the essays, but we welcome entries related to any nuclear security topics. They in particular encourage qualified women and authors from developing countries to participate.”

Through the Conference, the IAEA will raise awareness to maintain and further strengthen national nuclear security regimes, review the status of nuclear security efforts, promote IAEA nuclear security guidance and good practices and discuss further enhancements of IAEA nuclear security activities as well as the central role of the IAEA. Other topics on the agenda include international legally and non-legally binding instruments, national nuclear security regimes, emerging technologies and the digital age, international cooperation, and information exchange.


  1. The competition is only open to nationals of IAEA Member States;
  2. Applicants must be 35 years of age and under (born after 1st January 1986). Finalists will be requested to send their identification documents (E.g. copy of passport) to facilitate administrative arrangements and travel to Austria;
  3. Essay maximum word count: 1,000. 4. Entries in any official language of the IAEA (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) will be accepted. However, applicants should note that for an impartial and fair judging process, best essays will be translated into English if needed and be subject to a blind evaluation at the final selection stage. Therefore, applicants who wish to ensure the quality of the translation may choose to submit their essays in English;
  4. Only one essay is allowed per entrant. Once an essay has been submitted, the applicant will not have the opportunity to revise it. Please carefully check before submitting the final copy and ensure that all supplementary information is correct;
  5. All essays must be an original work by the applicant in their own words, except for quotations from published and unpublished sources, which are clearly indicated and acknowledged as such. Citations must follow internationally recognized styles (Chicago, MLA, ACS, IEEE, NLM, Vancouver, AAA, APA, APSA, etc.), and applicants can at any time be requested to provide clarification of the source. Any content that can be identified as plagiarism will immediately be disqualified;
  6. The overall themes for ICONS 2020 are as follows:
  • International legally and non-legally binding instruments for nuclear security;
  • Role of the IAEA in nuclear security;
  • National nuclear security regimes;
  • Emerging technologies and the digital age;
  • International cooperation in information exchange, sharing of good practices and broader experience to enhance nuclear security.


  • Three finalists will receive cash prizes of EUR 2000 and a certificate signed by the IAEA Director General;
  • In addition, the finalists will receive flight tickets, accommodation, and daily living expenses to attend and present their essays at ICONS 2020 side event in Vienna, Austria (10-14 February 2020);
  • The essays will be posted on the IAEA Conference Website with a link on the IAEA Conference App for the duration of the Conference and included in the conference proceedings. Please see the Terms and Conditions for more information.

How to apply?

The submission e-mail should:

  • Be sent to ICONS2020@iaea.org
  • Contain “Essay Competition 2020”_” applicant’s family name” in the subject line – E.g. Essay Competition 2020_Smith
  • Have the essay as an attachment in MS Word format
  • Contain the following information in the body of the e-mail:
  1. Applicant’s first and last name as in the passport
  2. Title (Mr/Ms)
  3. School/organization/affiliation
  4. If a student, enrolled program (bachelors, Masters, Ph.D.)
  5. Country of passport:

For more information, visit the official website.